Williams v. Atchison, T. & S. F. Ry. Co.

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Missouri
Writing for the CourtGraves
Citation233 Mo. 666,136 S.W. 304
PartiesWILLIAMS v. ATCHISON, T. & S. F. RY. CO.
Decision Date31 March 1911
136 S.W. 304
233 Mo. 666
WILLIAMS
v.
ATCHISON, T. & S. F. RY. CO.
Supreme Court of Missouri, Division No. 1.
March 31, 1911.

1. COURTS (§ 231) — JURISDICTION — AMOUNT IN CONTROVERSY.

Where plaintiff recovers a verdict for an amount less than the jurisdictional limit for an appeal to the Supreme Court, and the verdict is set aside on motion of defendant, an appeal must be taken to the Court of Appeals, and not to the Supreme Court, unless other jurisdictional grounds for an appeal to the Supreme Court exist.

2. APPEAL AND ERROR (§ 171)—THEORY OF CASE—THEORY IN TRIAL COURT.

The theory on which a case was tried in the court below cannot be departed from on appeal.

3. STATUTES (§ 114)—TITLE—SUFFICIENCY.

Under the Constitution, providing that no bill shall embrace more than one subject, which shall be expressed in the title, the title of Acts 1891, p. 159, entitled "An act relating to manufacturing, mechanical, mercantile and other establishments and places, and the employment, safety, health and work hours of employés," is not sufficiently broad to cover provisions regulating the construction of platforms, passageways, and other structures in and around railroad yards and depots; for under the doctrine of ejusdem generis the words "other establishments and places" refer to establishments and places similar to those specifically enumerated, and not to railroads and railroad employés, treated as separate subjects for legislation.

4. STATUTES (§ 105)—TITLE—SUFFICIENCY.

The constitutional provision that no bill shall contain more than one subject, which shall be clearly expressed in the title, is mandatory, and the title should point to a single subject-matter and matters germane thereto.

5. STATUTES (§ 194)—CONSTRUCTION—EJUSDEM GENERIS.

The ejusdem generis rule in the construction of statutes may be applied where the words are merely used in summarizing the details affected by the statute, since in such cases they do not seek to cover a subject different from that stated in the title.

6. STATUTES (§ 107)—TITLE—SUFFICIENCY.

The title of Acts 1891, p. 159, entitled "An act relating to manufacturing, mechanical, mercantile and other establishments and places, and the employment, safety, health and work hours of employés," is objectionable as containing more than one subject, unless the words "and other establishments and places" are construed by the rule ejusdem generis.

7. APPEAL AND ERROR (§ 854)—GROUNDS—ERRONEOUS REASON BUT CORRECT DECISION.

An order granting a new trial will not be disturbed on appeal, where a good reason for a new trial exists, though the trial court assigned a bad reason.

8. STATUTES (§ 63)—INVALIDITY—EFFECT.

An action founded on an unconstitutional statute must fail.

9. PLEADING (§ 63)—STATUTORY ACTION—PETITION—SUFFICIENCY.

A petition seeking a recovery under a statute need not state that the statute was violated, but need merely state facts sufficient to bring the case within the statute.

10. MASTER AND SERVANT (§ 94)—REGULATION OF EMPLOYMENT — STATUTES — VIOLATION.

Acts 1891, p. 161, § 16, authorizing the Commissioner of Labor, or assistant inspector, to notify employers to make alterations or additions within a specified time, and section 20, providing that railroad platforms shall be so located and erected as to insure as far as possible the safety of employés, must be construed together; and a railway company is not guilty of violating the statute until it has been notified to make alterations in its platforms.

Appeal from Circuit Court, Jackson County; Jno. G. Park, Judge.

Action by Anna High Williams against the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fé Railway

[136 S.W. 305]

Company. From an order granting a new trial after verdict for plaintiff, she appeals. Affirmed.

A. F. Smith, Boyle & Howell, and Guthrie, Gamble & Street, for appellant. Thos. R. Morrow, Cyrus Crane, James P. Gilmore, S. W. Sawyer, and Jno. H. Lathrop, for respondent.

GRAVES, P. J.


Plaintiff is the widow of Ellis T. High, and as such, in the name of Anna High, brought suit against defendant in the circuit court of Jackson county for the alleged negligent killing of her husband, the said Ellis T. High. After the institution of the suit, she intermarried with one Williams, and took the necessary steps to further prosecute the suit in the name she thus assumed by the intermarriage.

By her petition, she charges that the death of her said husband was occasioned by reason of the fact that defendant had negligently constructed an unloading platform too close to the track upon which the freight cars were switched to be unloaded. The petition is long, but the alleged negligence of defendant can be gathered from the following language contained therein: "That said platform and the said arrangements in and around such railroad yard and freight house were so located, placed, and arranged as to endanger the safety of employés in this, that said platform was as aforesaid so located and placed, with reference to said track and cars operated thereon, as to leave only about eight inches of space between said platform and the corners and sides of said cars; whereas said platform should have been so located, placed, and arranged in order to insure so far as possible the safety of employés from injury or accident as to leave between said platform and said cars a space sufficient for the safe passage of employés between the edge of said platform and such cars, when such platform was necessary for the safety of employés in the performance of their duties as was at times necessary, and as was at the time and place of the injury aforesaid; that there were no conditions preventing the location of said platform so as to be at such sufficient distance from such cars, and it was practicable to so place, arrange, and locate said platform; and such platform was so placed, arranged, and located, as same in fact was, only for the convenience of the defendant in loading and unloading freight at said platform; that such negligent failure of the defendant to properly arrange, place, and locate such platform directly contributed to cause the death of said High."

The amount sought to be recovered was $5,000.

Defendant's answer is (1) a general denial; (2) a plea of contributory negligence; (3) a plea of assumption of risks; and (4) a plea charging that the cause of action, if any, had vested in two minor children of the deceased by a former wife. Reply was a general denial.

The trial nisi resulted in a verdict, by the concurrence of 10 jurors, for plaintiff in the sum of $3,000. Defendant thereupon filed its motion for new trial and in arrest of judgment. The court sustained such motion for new trial for the reason, as assigned, that plaintiff was not entitled to recover. From this order sustaining the motion for new trial, plaintiff has appealed. The evidence, so far as required, will be detailed and reviewed in connection with the points made.

1. At first impression we were doubtful as to the jurisdiction of this court. Upon no theory does the "amount in dispute" give us jurisdiction. The petition and the amount claimed therein, if such were to govern, would not give us jurisdiction under the act of 1909, increasing the jurisdiction of the Courts of Appeals. In this case and the facts thereof the amount in dispute, as contemplated by the Constitution, is the amount of the verdict which was set aside by the trial court. Even in cases where the amount claimed by plaintiff in the petition is such as to confer jurisdiction upon this court when plaintiff has been defeated in the action below, yet, if plaintiff recovers below an amount less than the jurisdictional limit for an appeal to this court, and the verdict for such amount is set aside on the motion of defendant, the appeal must be taken to the Court of Appeals having territorial jurisdiction of the cause, and not to this court. In other words, the amount of the verdict set aside fixes the jurisdiction.

In Culbertson v. Young, 156 Mo. 261, 56 S. W. 893, this court said: "This court has no jurisdiction of this appeal. The utmost that is involved in this appeal is the amount of the verdict rendered in the circuit court. Appellant in his brief asks `that the judgment of the circuit court in setting aside the verdict of the jury and granting a new trial be reversed, and the cause remanded, with directions to enter up a judgment on the verdict.' Plaintiff sought no new trial in the circuit court, and his claim for the original amount sued for is not here at this time. He seeks only to have a judgment entered on his verdict for $783.25. If he should succeed, that would end the case. The propriety of setting aside that verdict is the only matter involved in this his special appeal, and this court has no jurisdiction, as it is less than $2,500. On the other hand if the circuit court did not err in granting the new trial, no final judgment has been rendered in that court from which an appeal can be taken. Roselle v. Farmers' Bank, 119 Mo. 84 [24 S. W. 744], is not authority for the claim that this court has jurisdiction. This cause is ordered retransferred to the Kansas City Court of Appeals." In that case the amount sued for was $7,180, of which sum we then had jurisdiction. The

136 S.W. 306

verdict was for only $783.25, which verdict was set aside upon motion of the defendant. Appeal was granted to the Kansas City Court of Appeals, but that court transferred it to this court. Our conclusions are indicated by the quotation, supra.

So that in the case at bar, even without the aid of the act of 1907, we would have to hold that, so far as the amount in dispute is concerned, this court would be without jurisdiction. Our jurisdiction, however, hinges upon a constitutional question lodged for the first time in the motion for new trial. We were first impressed with the idea that the question was not timely raised, but upon a more thorough reading of the petition, and the...

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38 practice notes
  • Stewart v. Omaha Loan & Trust Co., No. 20879.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • June 4, 1920
    ...245 Mo. loc. cit. 645, 151 S. W. 119; Brier v. Bank, 225 Mo. loc. cit. 684, 125 S. W. 469; Williams v. Railroad, 233 Mo. loc. cit. 675, 136 S. W. 304; Degonia v. Railroad, 224 Mo. loc. cit. 588, 123 S. W. 807; Riggs v. Metro. Ry. Co., 216 Mo. loc. cit. 304, 115 S. W. 969; Hof v. Transit Co.......
  • Gipson v. Fisher Bros. Co., No. 6661.
    • United States
    • Missouri Court of Appeals
    • June 24, 1947
    ...Co., Mo.App., 199 S.W.2d 83; State ex rel. Long v. Ellison, 272 Mo. 571, 199 S.W. 984; Williams v. Atchison, T. &. S. F. R. Co., 233 Mo. 666, 136 S.W. 304; Culbertson v. Young, 156 Mo. 261, 56 S.W. 893; Ashbrook v. Willis, 338 Mo. 226, 89 S.W.2d 659; Vanderberg v. Kansas City, Mo., Gas ......
  • Jones v. C., B. & Q. Railroad Co., No. 35383.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • February 21, 1939
    ...Co., 111 Mo. 161, 19 S.W. 1113; Moyer v. Chicago & A. Railroad Co. (Mo.), 198 S.W. 839; Williams v. Atchison, T. & S.F. Ry. Co., 233 Mo. 666, 136 S.W. 304.] In this instance the petition set forth facts and circumstances to bring the case within the contemplation of the statute, and......
  • Arnold v. Hanna, No. 27351.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • October 8, 1926
    ...of their contention that the act contains matters not clearly expressed in the title. It is 290 S.W. 420 the case of Williams v. Railroad, 233 Mo. 666. loc. cit. 676. 136 S. W. 304, 306. The title considered there was "an act relating to manufacturing, mechanical, mercantile and other ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
38 cases
  • Stewart v. Omaha Loan & Trust Co., No. 20879.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • June 4, 1920
    ...245 Mo. loc. cit. 645, 151 S. W. 119; Brier v. Bank, 225 Mo. loc. cit. 684, 125 S. W. 469; Williams v. Railroad, 233 Mo. loc. cit. 675, 136 S. W. 304; Degonia v. Railroad, 224 Mo. loc. cit. 588, 123 S. W. 807; Riggs v. Metro. Ry. Co., 216 Mo. loc. cit. 304, 115 S. W. 969; Hof v. Transit Co.......
  • Gipson v. Fisher Bros. Co., No. 6661.
    • United States
    • Missouri Court of Appeals
    • June 24, 1947
    ...Co., Mo.App., 199 S.W.2d 83; State ex rel. Long v. Ellison, 272 Mo. 571, 199 S.W. 984; Williams v. Atchison, T. &. S. F. R. Co., 233 Mo. 666, 136 S.W. 304; Culbertson v. Young, 156 Mo. 261, 56 S.W. 893; Ashbrook v. Willis, 338 Mo. 226, 89 S.W.2d 659; Vanderberg v. Kansas City, Mo., Gas ......
  • Jones v. C., B. & Q. Railroad Co., No. 35383.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • February 21, 1939
    ...Co., 111 Mo. 161, 19 S.W. 1113; Moyer v. Chicago & A. Railroad Co. (Mo.), 198 S.W. 839; Williams v. Atchison, T. & S.F. Ry. Co., 233 Mo. 666, 136 S.W. 304.] In this instance the petition set forth facts and circumstances to bring the case within the contemplation of the statute, and......
  • Arnold v. Hanna, No. 27351.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • October 8, 1926
    ...of their contention that the act contains matters not clearly expressed in the title. It is 290 S.W. 420 the case of Williams v. Railroad, 233 Mo. 666. loc. cit. 676. 136 S. W. 304, 306. The title considered there was "an act relating to manufacturing, mechanical, mercantile and other ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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