Western Atlantic v. Hughes, No. 234

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtBRANDEIS
Citation73 L.Ed. 473,278 U.S. 496,49 S.Ct. 231
Decision Date18 February 1929
Docket NumberNo. 234
PartiesWESTERN & ATLANTIC R. R. v. HUGHES

278 U.S. 496
49 S.Ct. 231
73 L.Ed. 473
WESTERN & ATLANTIC R. R.

v.

HUGHES.

No. 234.
Argued Jan. 18, 1929.
Decided Feb. 18, 1929.

Mr. Fitzgerald Hall, of Nashville, Tenn., for petitioner.

Mr. Reuben R. Arnold, or Atlanta, Ga., for respondent.

Page 497

Mr. Justice BRANDEIS delivered the opinion of the Court.

Ira L. Hughes, a traveling fireman, was killed on the Western & Atlantic Railroad while engaged in the performance of his duties. His widow, as administratrix brought this action under the Federal Employers' Liability Act (45 USCA §§ 51-59) in a state court of Georgia. She recovered a verdict of $17,500, which was set aside as excessive by the presiding judge. At the second trial before another judge and jury a verdict was rendered for $10,000. A motion for a new trial was overruled. Judgment was entered on this verdict; and it was affirmed by the intermediate appellate court. The Supreme Court of the state refused a certiorari. This court granted the writ. 278 U. S. 588, 49 S. Ct. 18, 73 L. Ed. —.

Hughes was killed while riding on a locomotive moving in interstate commerce. The plaintiff claimed that he was knocked from the running board and thrown against an up-right on a bridge as the train entered it; that the accident resulted from an unusual rocking of the engine from side to side, due to the defective condition of the track leading to the bridge; that the railroad had been negligent in permitting the track to remain in bad condition; and that this negligence was the proximate cause of the injury. The railroad claimed that the alleged cause of the accident was mere speculation. It denied that the track was in bad condition, denied that its condition had produced the alleged swaying of the locomotive, denied that it had been guilty of any negligence, insisted that the accident was the result of Hughes' gross negligence and his disobedience of the company's rules, claimed that he had assumed the risk, and requested a directed verdict. The request was denied.

The railroad asserts that the scintilla of evidence rule prevails in Georgia, and argues that the lower courts erred by applying the local rule in this case. It is true

Page 498

that submission to the jury of contested issues of fact is not required in the federal courts, if there is only a scintilla of evidence, Baltimore & Ohio R. Co. v. Groeger, 266 U. S. 521, 524, 45 S. Ct. 169, 69 L. Ed. 419; that it is the duty of the judge to direct the verdict, when the testimony and all inference which the jury could justifiably draw therefrom would be insufficient to support a verdict for the other party, Elliott v. Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Ry. Co., 150 U. S. 245, 14 S. Ct. 85, 37 L. Ed. 1068; Small Co. v. Lamborn & Co., 267 U. S. 248, 254, 45 S. Ct. 300, 69 L. Ed. 597; and that this federal rule must be applied by state courts in cases arising under the Federal Employers' Liability Act, Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Ry. Co. v....

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89 practice notes
  • Urie v. Thompson, No. 129
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • May 31, 1949
    ...51 L.Ed. 681. 14 See, e.g., Ellis v. Union Pacific R. Co., 329 U.S. 649, 67 S.Ct. 598, 91 L.Ed. 572; Western & Atlantic R. Co. v. Hughes, 278 U.S. 496, 49 S.Ct. 231, 73 L.Ed. 473. Cf. Brady v. Southern R. Co., 320 U.S. 476, 64 S.Ct. 232, 88 L.Ed. 239; Chicago, M. & St. P.R. Co. v. Coogan, 2......
  • Johnson v. Southern Railway Co., No. 38571.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • October 4, 1943
    ...New York Central R. Co. v. Marcone, 281 U.S. 345; Texas & Pacific R. Co. v. Harvey, 228 U.S. 319; Western & Atlantic R. Co. v. Hughes, 278 U.S. 496; Hayes v. Michigan Central R. Co., 111 U.S. 228; Line v. Erie Railroad Co., 62 Fed. (2d) 657; Young v. Wheelock, 333 Mo. 992. (2) And the testi......
  • Hardin v. Ill. Central Railroad Co., No. 32084.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • April 19, 1934
    ...Railroad Co., 5 S.W. (2d) 368; C.M. & St. P. Ry. Co. v. Coogan, 271 U.S. 472; Railroad Co. v. Wells, 275 U.S. 455; Railroad Co. v. Hughes, 278 U.S. 496; Chesapeake & Ohio Ry. Co. v. Stapleton, 279 U.S. 587; Peters v. Wabash Ry. Co., 42 S.W. (2d) 588; Norton v. Wheelock, 23 S.W. (2d) 146; Ra......
  • Howard v. Mobile & Ohio Railroad Co., No. 32092.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • June 12, 1934
    ...the court has no right to pass upon the credibility of the witnesses or the weight of the evidence. Western & Atl. Railroad v. Hughes, 278 U.S. 496; Great Northern Ry. Co. v. Donaldson, 246 U.S. 121; Kinghorn v. Railroad Co., 47 Fed. (2d) 593; O'Boyle v. Northwestern Fire & Marine Ins. Co.,......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
90 cases
  • Urie v. Thompson, No. 129
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • May 31, 1949
    ...51 L.Ed. 681. 14 See, e.g., Ellis v. Union Pacific R. Co., 329 U.S. 649, 67 S.Ct. 598, 91 L.Ed. 572; Western & Atlantic R. Co. v. Hughes, 278 U.S. 496, 49 S.Ct. 231, 73 L.Ed. 473. Cf. Brady v. Southern R. Co., 320 U.S. 476, 64 S.Ct. 232, 88 L.Ed. 239; Chicago, M. & St. P.R. Co. v. Coogan, 2......
  • Johnson v. Southern Railway Co., No. 38571.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • October 4, 1943
    ...New York Central R. Co. v. Marcone, 281 U.S. 345; Texas & Pacific R. Co. v. Harvey, 228 U.S. 319; Western & Atlantic R. Co. v. Hughes, 278 U.S. 496; Hayes v. Michigan Central R. Co., 111 U.S. 228; Line v. Erie Railroad Co., 62 Fed. (2d) 657; Young v. Wheelock, 333 Mo. 992. (2) And the testi......
  • Hardin v. Ill. Central Railroad Co., No. 32084.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • April 19, 1934
    ...Railroad Co., 5 S.W. (2d) 368; C.M. & St. P. Ry. Co. v. Coogan, 271 U.S. 472; Railroad Co. v. Wells, 275 U.S. 455; Railroad Co. v. Hughes, 278 U.S. 496; Chesapeake & Ohio Ry. Co. v. Stapleton, 279 U.S. 587; Peters v. Wabash Ry. Co., 42 S.W. (2d) 588; Norton v. Wheelock, 23 S.W. (2d) 146; Ra......
  • Howard v. Mobile & Ohio Railroad Co., No. 32092.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • June 12, 1934
    ...the court has no right to pass upon the credibility of the witnesses or the weight of the evidence. Western & Atl. Railroad v. Hughes, 278 U.S. 496; Great Northern Ry. Co. v. Donaldson, 246 U.S. 121; Kinghorn v. Railroad Co., 47 Fed. (2d) 593; O'Boyle v. Northwestern Fire & Marine Ins. Co.,......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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