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Damages, etc. Colquitt Superior Court. Before Judge Elliott.
Appellants, employees of Swift Independent Packing Company (Swift), sued the Georgia Northern Railway Company (Georgia Northern) to recover wages allegedly lost because of Georgia Northern's negligence. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of Georgia Northern; hence, this appeal.
On May 7, 1980, eight loaded railcars, sitting on a spur track used by Georgia Northern to service plant operations at Swift, broke free and rolled down the spur into the Swift plant. The damage from the resulting collision required an eight day shut down of the plant for repairs with an attendant loss of work and wages by appellants.
Appellants contend that their wage loss is a property loss directly caused by Georgia Northern's alleged negligent operation of the air and hand brakes on the railroad cars. Accordingly, appellants claim they are entitled to recover their lost wages from Georgia Northern.
Conceding that questions of fact as to the negligence of Georgia Northern remain, nevertheless we do not agree with appellants that their loss of wages -- money due them solely by virtue of their employment contract with Swift -- was a probable consequence of Georgia Northern's negligence. The damages sought by appellants have consistently been held too remote in nature for recovery. "A party [appellants] to a contract who is injured by reason of the failure of the other party [Swift] to comply with its terms can not recover damages for the negligent act of a third person [Georgia Northern] by which the performance of the contract was rendered impossible." Byrd v. English, 117 Ga. 191 (43 SE 419) (1902). See also Robbins Dry Dock &c. Co. v. Flint, 275 U. S. 303 (48 SC 134, 72 LE 290) (1927); Avery v. Southern R. R. Co., 44 Ga. App. 613 (162 SE 648) (1931); Morse, supra. We therefore affirm the trial court's grant of summary judgment in favor of Georgia Northern.
Walter H. Bush, Jr., Sam J. Gardner, Jr., Edmund A. Landau, Jr., for appellee.
Larkin M. Fowler, Jr., for appellants.
Thursday May 21 18:58 EDT

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