Western Union Telegraph Co. v. Young

Decision Date25 January 1884
Docket Number10,870
Citation93 Ind. 118
PartiesWestern Union Telegraph Company v. Young
CourtIndiana Supreme Court

From the Monroe Circuit Court.

Judgment affirmed.

J. H Louden and R. W. Miers, for appellant.

J. R East and W. H. East, for appellee.


Elliott, J.

This action was brought by the appellee to recover the statutory penalty for the failure of the appellant to transmit and deliver a message.

It is said that the complaint is bad because it does not aver that the penalty is unpaid, but we deem this position untenable. The purpose of such an allegation in an action on a contract is to show a breach by non-payment, but in actions on torts or for penalties there is no necessity for showing a failure to pay the damages or the penalty.

Complaint is made of the ruling on demurrer to the third paragraph of the answer. The general theory of this paragraph is that the company was absolved from liability by a contract with the sender of the message, stipulating that the extent of the liability should be twenty-five cents, and as such a contract is invalid the answer is bad. Western Union Tel. Co. v. Fenton, 52 Ind. 1; Western Union Tel. Co. v. Meek, 49 Ind. 53; Western Union Tel. Co. v. Buchanan, 35 Ind. 429 (9 Am. R. 744); Western Union Tel. Co. v. Adams, 87 Ind. 598; S. C., 44 Am. Rep. 776.

A pleading is to be judged from its general tenor and scope, and not from detached or isolated allegations. Where, as here, the controlling theory upon which the pleading proceeds is that there is a contract absolving from liability, it must be good on that theory or it will not be good at all. A pleading assuming to proceed on a definite theory can not be made good on some other by casting into it isolated and subsidiary statements, which if fully pleaded in a separate paragraph might constitute a defence. Mescall v. Tully, 91 Ind. 96; Platter v. City of Seymour, 86 Ind. 323; Johnston v. Griest, 85 Ind. 503; Jackson School Tp. v. Farlow, 75 Ind. 118; Neidefer v. Chastain, 71 Ind. 363 (36 Am. R. 198); Kimble v. Christie, 55 Ind. 140.

The instructions, considered as a whole, and it is our duty to so consider them, express the law quite as favorably to the appellant as it had any right to ask. It is not proper to detach one instruction from the others, and assail it on the ground that it does not fully or accurately state the law for it is not to be expected that one instruction will do this. All that can be reasonably asked is that the instructions, taken as an entirety, shall, without contradiction,...

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30 cases
  • Shields v. State
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court
    • February 3, 1898
    ...Co. v. Buchanan, 100 Ind. 63, 74;Atkinson v. Dailey, 107 Ind. 117, 7 N. E. 902;Lytton v. Baird, 95 Ind. 349, 351, 353;Telegraph Co. v. Young, 93 Ind. 118;Eggleston v. Castle, 42 Ind. 531;Mitchell v. Allison, 29 Ind. 43;Shaw v. Saum, 9 Ind. 517;Newport v. State, 140 Ind. 299, 39 N. E. 926. M......
  • Shields v. The State
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court
    • February 3, 1897
    ... ... of James Young. The only error assigned calls in question the ... action of the court in ... Hogan, 120 Ind. 207, ... 225, 226, 21 N.E. 911; Union Life Ins. Co. v ... Buchanan, 100 Ind. 63, 74; Atkinson v ... 902; Lytton v ... Baird, 95 Ind. 349, 351, 353; Western Union Tel ... Co. v. Young, 93 Ind. 118; Eggleston ... v. Castle, ... ...
  • Vandalia Railroad Company v. State ex rel. City of South Bend
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court
    • February 23, 1906
    ... ... action or defense. Western Union Tel. Co. v ... Young (1884), 93 Ind. 118; Western Union ... [76 ... ...
  • Oölitic Stone Co. v. Ridge
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court
    • January 9, 1908
    ...Am. Rep. 99;Cottrell v. Ætna, etc., Co., 97 Ind. 311, 313;Western, etc., Co. v. Reed, 96 Ind. 195, 198, and cases cited; Western, etc., Co. v. Young, 93 Ind. 118, 119, and cases cited; Union, etc., Co. v. Adler, 38 Ind. App. 530, 536, 73 N. E. 835, 75 N. E. 1088;Rietman v. Bangert, 26 Ind. ......
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