St Louis, San Francisco Texas Railway Company v. Maude Seale, No. 857

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtVan Devanter
Citation57 L.Ed. 1129,229 U.S. 156,33 S.Ct. 651
PartiesST. LOUIS, SAN FRANCISCO, & TEXAS RAILWAY COMPANY, Plff. in Err., v. MAUDE SEALE et al
Docket NumberNo. 857
Decision Date26 May 1913

229 U.S. 156
33 S.Ct. 651
57 L.Ed. 1129
ST. LOUIS, SAN FRANCISCO, & TEXAS RAILWAY COMPANY, Plff. in Err.,

v.

MAUDE SEALE et al.

No. 857.
Argued May 5, 1913.
Decided May 26, 1913.

Messrs. Cecil H. Smith and W. F. Evans for plaintiff in error.

Page 157

Messrs. Judson H. Wood and James P. Haven for defendants in error.

Mr. Justice Van Devanter delivered the opinion of the court:

This was an action against a railroad company, by the widow and parents of one of its employees, to recover damages for his death while in its service in its railroad yard at North Sherman, Texas, the death being caused, as was alleged, by the negligence of other employees. The action was begun in one of the courts of the state, and resulted in a judgment for the plaintiffs, which was affirmed by the court of civil appeals. 148 S. W. 1099. A petition for a writ of error was denied by the supreme court of the state, and the present writ of error to the court of civil appeals was then allowed. See Bacon v. Texas, 163 U. S. 207, 215, 41 L. ed. 132, 135, 16 Sup. Ct. Rep. 1023; Norfolk & S. Turnp. Co. v. Virginia, 225 U. S. 264, 269, 56 L. ed. 1082, 1086, 32 Sup. Ct. Rep. 828.

A motion to dismiss the writ is interposed, but the grounds of the motion are plainly untenable, and it is denied.

In the trial court and again in the court of civil appeals the railroad company contended that the injuries which caused the death of the deceased were received while the company was engaged, and while he was employed by it, in interstate commerce; that its liability for his death was exclusively regulated and controlled by the employers' liability act of April 22, 1908 (35 Stat. at L. 65, chap. 149, U. S. Comp. Stat. Supp. 1911, p. 1322); and that, if liable, it was liable only to his personal representative, and not to the plaintiffs or any of them. This contention was denied by both courts, and the correctness of that ruling is the matter now to be considered.

The cause of action sought to be enforced was not recognized at common law. Michigan C. R. Co.

Page 158

v. Vreeland, 227 U. S. 59, 67, 57 L. ed. ——, 33 Sup. Ct. Rep. 192. It was essential, therefore, that it be based on some applicable statute. Therewas a Texas statute on the subject, and also the Federal one. Both could not occupy the same field, and they were unlike. The Texas statute gave the right of action of the 'surviving husband, wife, children, and parents,' and provided that it might be enforced by all of them or by one or more for the benefit of all; while the Federal statute vested the right of action in the deceased's 'personal representative, for the benefit of the surviving widow or husband and children of such employee; and, if none, then of such employee's parents; and, if none, then of the next of kin dependent upon such employee.' There were other points of dissimilarity, but they need not be noticed. If the Federal statute was applicable, the state statute was excluded by reason of the supremacy of the former under the national Constitution. Second Employers' Liability Cases (Mondou v. New York, N. H. & H. R. Co.) 223 U. S. 1, 53, 56 L. ed. 327, 347, 38 L.R.A.(N.S.) 44, 32 Sup. Ct. Rep. 169; Michigan C. R. Co. v. Vreeland, supra. And if the Federal statute was applicable, the right of recovery, if any, was in the personal representative of the deceased, and no one else could maintain the action. Briggs v. Walker, 171 U. S. 466, 471, 43 L. ed. 243, 245, 19 Sup. Ct. Rep. 1; American R. Co. v. Birch, 224 U. S. 547, 557, 56 L. ed. 879, 882, 32 Sup. Ct. Rep. 603; Missouri, K. & T. R. Co. v. Wulf, 226 U. S. 570, 576, 57 L. ed. ——, 33 Sup. Ct. Rep. 135; Troxell v. Delaware, L. & W. R. Co. 227 U. S. 434, 443, 57 L. ed. ——, 33 Sup. Ct. Rep. 274. The real question, therefore, is, whether the Federal statute was applicable; and this turns upon whether the injuries which caused the death of the deceased were sustained while the company was engaged, and while he was employed by it, in interstate commerce. Second Employers' Liability Cases, supra; Pedersen v. Delaware, L. & W. R. Co. (decision announced with...

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324 practice notes
  • Windbourne v. Eastern Air Lines, Inc., No. 76 C 237
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of New York)
    • May 11, 1979
    ...Instead, such cases grant the plaintiff leave to amend his complaint. See, e. g., St. Louis, San Francisco & Texas Railway Co. v. Seale, 229 U.S. 156, 162, 33 S.Ct. 651, 57 L.Ed. 1129 (1913); Marston v. American Employers Ins. Co., 439 F.2d 1035, 1041 (1st Cir. 1971); Hunt v. Penn Central T......
  • Mississippi Cent R. Co. v. Knight, 24615
    • United States
    • Mississippi Supreme Court
    • March 30, 1925
    ...Liability Act. Norfolk & Western R. R. Co. v. Earnest, 229 U.S. 114, 57 L.Ed. 1096; St. Louis, San Francisco & Texas R. R. Co. v. Seale, 229 U.S. 156, 57 L.Ed. 1129; North Carolina R. R. Co. v. Zachary, 232 U.S. 248, 58 L.Ed. 591; New York Central & Hudson River R. R. Co. v. Carr, 238 U. [1......
  • Howard v. Mobile & Ohio Railroad Co., No. 32092.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • June 12, 1934
    ...Ry. Co. (Pa.), 131 Atl. 484, certiorari denied 270 U.S. 649, 46 Sup. Ct. 349, 70 L. Ed. 780; St. L., S.F. & T. Railroad Co. v. Seale, 229 U.S. 156, 33 Sup. Ct. 651, 57 L. Ed. A case which is perhaps more nearly in point, here, than any which has come to our attention is McKay v. Monongahela......
  • Hamarstrom v. M.K.T. Ry. Co., No. 18850.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • April 4, 1938
    ...interstate transportation and so closely related thereto as to be practically a part thereof. St. L.S.F. & Tex. Ry. Co. v. Maude Searle, 229 U.S. 156, 57 L. Ed. 1129; Pecos & Northern Tex. Ry. Co. v. Rosenbloom, 240 U.S. 439, 60 L. Ed. 730; Crecelius v. Chicago, M. & St. P.R. Co., 274 Mo. 6......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
324 cases
  • Windbourne v. Eastern Air Lines, Inc., No. 76 C 237
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of New York)
    • May 11, 1979
    ...Instead, such cases grant the plaintiff leave to amend his complaint. See, e. g., St. Louis, San Francisco & Texas Railway Co. v. Seale, 229 U.S. 156, 162, 33 S.Ct. 651, 57 L.Ed. 1129 (1913); Marston v. American Employers Ins. Co., 439 F.2d 1035, 1041 (1st Cir. 1971); Hunt v. Penn Central T......
  • Mississippi Cent R. Co. v. Knight, 24615
    • United States
    • Mississippi Supreme Court
    • March 30, 1925
    ...Liability Act. Norfolk & Western R. R. Co. v. Earnest, 229 U.S. 114, 57 L.Ed. 1096; St. Louis, San Francisco & Texas R. R. Co. v. Seale, 229 U.S. 156, 57 L.Ed. 1129; North Carolina R. R. Co. v. Zachary, 232 U.S. 248, 58 L.Ed. 591; New York Central & Hudson River R. R. Co. v. Carr, 238 U. [1......
  • Howard v. Mobile & Ohio Railroad Co., No. 32092.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • June 12, 1934
    ...Ry. Co. (Pa.), 131 Atl. 484, certiorari denied 270 U.S. 649, 46 Sup. Ct. 349, 70 L. Ed. 780; St. L., S.F. & T. Railroad Co. v. Seale, 229 U.S. 156, 33 Sup. Ct. 651, 57 L. Ed. A case which is perhaps more nearly in point, here, than any which has come to our attention is McKay v. Monongahela......
  • Hamarstrom v. M.K.T. Ry. Co., No. 18850.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • April 4, 1938
    ...interstate transportation and so closely related thereto as to be practically a part thereof. St. L.S.F. & Tex. Ry. Co. v. Maude Searle, 229 U.S. 156, 57 L. Ed. 1129; Pecos & Northern Tex. Ry. Co. v. Rosenbloom, 240 U.S. 439, 60 L. Ed. 730; Crecelius v. Chicago, M. & St. P.R. Co., 274 Mo. 6......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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