lawskills
Loading
Did you know you can download our entire database for free?


Resources
[more] 

Georgia Caselaw:
Browse
Greatest Hits

Georgia Code: Browse

(external) Findlaw Georgia Law Resources


This site exists because of donors like you.

Thanks!


Lawskills.com Georgia Caselaw
SOUTHERN RAILWAY COMPANY et al. v. ALLEN.
SOUTHERN RAILWAY COMPANY v. ALLEN et al.
SMITH v. ALLEN et al.
34625.
34626.
34627.
Federal Employers' Liability Act. Before Judge Baldwin. Macon City Court. February 28, 1953.
FELTON, J.
1. An individual resident defendant may be sued jointly in a joint action outside the county of his residence with a nonresident corporation defendant having an office and agent in the county in which the action is brought.
2. Where an employee of an interstate carrier by rail is killed by the combined negligence of his employer through fellow employees and the negligence of another interstate carrier by rail, the right of action for the homicide is not confined and restricted to a single action against his employer under the Federal Employers' Liability Act, but an action may be brought against the other nonemploying carrier alone or jointly with his employer under State law.
3. The grounds of the amended motion for new trial covered in divisions 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 9, which were argued, show no reversible error.
4. It was error to refuse the requested charge shown in ground 38.
5. Grounds mentioned in divisions 8 and 11 and grounds 51, 52, and 53 are not passed on either because they were not argued or because to do so is deemed unnecessary since the case is to be tried again.
6. The court erred in charging the jury that the violation of a specific company rule constituted negligence.
Mrs. Jeanette Tucker Allen sued Southern Railway Company and one of its engineers, L. A. Smith, in Macon City Court, to recover for the alleged tortious death of her husband. The petition as amended alleged in substance: The plaintiff is the widow of G. E. Allen, who, on March 28, 1951, was a switchman for the Macon, Dublin & Savannah Railroad; and the defendant L. A. Smith was an engineer for Southern Railway Company during the month of March, 1951, and on or about March 28, 1951, was operating locomotive number 4887 for said company. The defendants have injured and damaged the plaintiff in the sum of $82,313; on March 28, 1951, between 5 and 6 a.m., the plaintiff's husband, while engaged in his duties as a switchman, was fatally injured and died on the following day as a result of the negligence of the defendants. The deceased was fatally injured while on top of the lead ear of a transfer of twenty freight cars, which had been pushed into the Southern Railway freight yards near Macon, when Southern Railway engine number 4887 backed into said freight cars. It was and has been the duty of the Macon, Dublin & Savannah Railroad to transfer to the Southern Railway cars containing freight which had originated on its lines when the freight was destined to points on or connecting carriers of the Southern Railway, and it was likewise the obligation of the Southern to receive and accept said cars and to designate a track through its yard to the point where said transfer was to be delivered. Both Macon, Dublin & Savannah Railroad and the defendant Southern Railway were engaged in the operation of railroads in interstate commerce, and their duties and obligations as alleged above arose under the terms of the Interstate Commerce Act as amended (Title 49, U.S.C.A., 1, et seq.), and particularly 1 (10), 1 (11), 1 (13) and 1 (14) thereof, and under Car Service Rule 7 of the Association of American Railroads which was established by carriers, including the above named two. Said Rule 7 is as follows: "Cars shall be considered as having been delivered to a connecting railroad when placed upon the track agreed upon and designated as the interchange track for such deliveries, accompanied or preceded by proper data for forwarding and to insure delivery, and accepted by the car inspector of the receiving road." Macon, Dublin & Savannah Railroad was in the act of transferring said cars to the Southern Railway's yards after having been advised by J. T. Faircloth, chief caller of the Southern, to move said cars on the main-line track in said yards; Faircloth was authorized by the defendant railroad to give said advice and instructions, and as its chief caller had been delegated the responsibility by the Southern of designating the track to be used by the Macon, Dublin & Savannah Railroad through its yard, as required by the statute and rule heretofore alleged. For a period of five years prior to March 28, 1951, Faircloth had been designating tracks to be used by the Macon, Dublin & Savannah Railroad in delivering freight cars to the defendant Southern
Railway. While the Macon, Dublin & Savannah Railroad transfer was proceeding south at a rate of speed of less than ten miles per hour, the aforesaid Southern locomotive, moving backwards in the opposite direction, was proceeding north on the same track; such main-line track was straight for a distance of a mile or more. As soon as it appeared that said Southern locomotive was not going to take a switch to another track, the train on which the plaintiff's husband was riding was brought to a stop. At this time the Southern locomotive was approximately three hundred feet south of said transfer train; it was completely dark, and the defendant Smith was not maintaining a lookout, nor was there any employee on the rear of such locomotive. There is a rule of the defendant railroad, applicable to all locomotives and trains operating in its yard, which requires that no train or locomotive shall be operated at a rate of speed greater than that at which it can be stopped within half of its engineer's vision; "the said locomotive was traveling at a speed in excess of that with which it could have been stopped within half the vision of the train on which plaintiff's husband was riding." Instead of reducing speed as it approached the lead car on the Macon, Dublin & Savannah transfer, said Southern locomotive, under the control of the defendant Smith, increased its speed to at least twenty miles per hour. The tank or cistern of the Southern locomotive struck with great force the front of the lead car of the Macon, Dublin & Savannah transfer; the blow was so great that the cistern was pulled loose from the frame, and it and the lead car on the said transfer were both pushed at an angle into another car which was located on an adjoining track a distance of some twelve or fifteen feet. The plaintiff's husband tried to reach a place of safety, but was unable to do so on account of the high rate of speed of said Southern locomotive. The plaintiff specifies the following acts of negligence which proximately caused the death of tier husband: in operating said locomotive number 4887 on the main-line track when the defendants knew that the Macon, Dublin & Savannah transfer with twenty cars was proceeding south on said track; said defendants failed to maintain a proper lookout as they were reversing their locomotive in a northerly direction on said main-line track; said defendants were operating said locomotive at a rate of speed which was greater than reasonable and safe and in violation of the rule stated above; said defendants were operating said locomotive at a rate of speed which made it impossible for them to bring it to a stop before hitting the freight car on which the plaintiff's husband was located; said defendants failed to have some member of its train crew or engine crew on the rear of said locomotive as it was being operated in reverse; said defendants failed to stop said locomotive before hitting the car on which the plaintiff's husband was located. The plaintiff shows that her husband was free from fault, and that the sole cause of his death was the acts of negligence on the part of the defendants heretofore specified.
The defendant Smith demurred to the petition and to the petition as amended as follows: generally, because no cause of action is alleged; specially to the words "as soon as it appeared" in paragraph eleven of the petition, for the reason that this allegation is vague, ambiguous, and indefinite and contains no fact showing or tending to show when or where it appeared that the "Southern locomotive was not going to take a switch to another track"; generally, because the petition shows that Southern Railway Company is a corporation of the State of Virginia, and that the defendant Smith is a resident of Fulton County, Georgia; the provisions of the Constitution of the State of Georgia permit joint trespassers to be sued in the county of the residence of either; this latter provision refers only to resident joint trespassers; Southern Railway Company being a nonresident of the State of Georgia and a resident of Virginia, the superior court has no jurisdiction to entertain this action against the defendant Smith, who is a resident of Fulton County, Georgia; generally, because the petition as amended shows on its face that the plaintiff has no right of action against Southern Railway Company, and therefore none against the defendant Smith in this court.
Both defendants demurred as follows: specially to the first paragraph of the amendment, which adds paragraph (7a) to the petition, and prays that it be stricken therefrom for the reason that it is simply a conclusion of the pleader in that there are no facts alleged therein or elsewhere in the petition showing that it was or has been the duty of the Macon, Dublin & Savannah Railroad to transfer to the Southern cars containing freight which had been originally on its line when the freight was destined to points on or connecting carriers of the latter railroad, and no facts alleged therein or elsewhere showing it to be the obligation of Southern Railway to receive and accept said cars and to designate a track through its yards to the point where said transfer was to be delivered; this defendant contending that the allegations are simply conclusions of the pleader without facts alleged upon which to base such conclusion, and that it is entitled to know what facts made it the duty of the Macon, Dublin & Savannah Railroad in the respects alleged, and what facts made it the obligation of the Southern railway as alleged; specially, to paragraph two of the amendment, which adds a sentence to paragraph eight of the petition, for the reason that it is not shown therein or elsewhere in the petition what officer or agent or employee of the "defendant railroad" authorized the said Faircloth to give the advice and instructions alleged therein, it not appearing that this authorization was given by any officer, agent, or employee of the defendant company authorized so to do.
The defendant Southern Railway Company filed a plea in bar, which alleges in substance: that both railroads were engaged in interstate commerce; that said transfer was an interstate shipment; that the transfer was under the control and direction of employees of the Macon, Dublin & Savannah Railroad; that the collision occurred when the transfer was under such direction and control and was due in whole or in part to the negligence of the employees of the Macon, Dublin & Savannah Railroad; that for these reasons, as shown by the amended petition, the only remedy for the deceased's death is by his personal representative against the Macon, Dublin & Savannah Railroad under the Federal Employers' Liability Act; and that such remedy is still the only remedy available, even if the death was due to the negligence of the Southern's employees, as alleged.
The plaintiff demurred to the plea in bar generally, because as a matter of law the provisions of the Federal Employers' Liability Act do not prevent the maintenance by the plaintiff of this common-law suit for damages for the negligence alleged.
The defendant Smith filed a plea to the jurisdiction, which alleged substantially the same as the railroad's plea in bar. Smith contends that, because the Macon City Court does not have jurisdiction of the Southern Railway for the reason that the proper remedy is against the Macon, Dublin & Savannah Railroad by the personal representative under the Federal Employers' Liability Act, it consequently has no jurisdiction as to the defendant Smith.
The plaintiff demurred to this plea to the jurisdiction because the Federal Employers' Liability Act does not prevent the common-law action herein alleged from being brought and does not prevent Smith from being named a joint tort-feasor.
Both defendants answered by admitting the formal allegations of the petition and denying the material allegations thereof, and the Southern further alleged: this defendant says that it does have a rule applicable to all locomotives and trains operating in its yards which required the Macon, Dublin & Savannah engine to move within the Southern Railway yard limits at yard speed; yard speed is a speed that will permit stopping within one-half the range of vision; and the defendant denies that the injuries to and death of the deceased were proximately or solely caused by its negligence, but on the contrary avers that the injuries sustained were the result of the negligence of the deceased and of other officers, agents, or employees of the Macon, Dublin & Savannah Railroad Company.
The court sustained the plaintiff's demurrer to the Southern Railway Company's plea in bar, overruled the demurrers to the petition as amended, and sustained the plaintiff's demurrer to Smith's plea to the jurisdiction. The defendants excepted pendente lite to judgments adverse to them. The jury found for the plaintiff against both defendants. Southern Railway Company and L. A. Smith filed a joint motion for new trial, which was amended. Each defendant filed a separate motion for new trial each of which was amended. A brief of evidence was filed with each motion. The court overruled all three motions for a new trial as amended. Southern Railway Company and L. A. Smith assign error on their exceptions pendente lite to the rulings against them on their demurrer to the petition and on the plaintiff's demurrer to the plea in bar and plea to the jurisdiction. There are also exceptions to the denial of each amended motion for new trial.
2. The defendants' demurrers, Southern Railway Company's plea in bar, and L. A. Smith's plea to the jurisdiction, except as to the question decided in division one, above, raise the same question and will be considered together. The defendants strongly urge that the sole right of action for Mr. Allen's death is under the Federal Employers' Liability Act and against Macon, Dublin & Savannah Railroad Company. They base their argument, among other things, on the act, U.S.C.A., Title 45, 51 et seq., and certain sections of the Interstate Commerce Act, U.S.C.A., Title 49, 1 (10), 1 (11), 1 (13), and 1 (14). Under the latter statute, it is the duty of every carrier by railroad engaged in interstate commerce to furnish safe and adequate car service and to establish, observe, and enforce just and reasonable rules, regulations, and practices with respect to car service, and the tenn "car service" includes the exchange and interchange of cars used in the transportation of property. The Interstate Commerce Commission is authorized to require all carriers by railroad engaged in interstate commerce to prescribe rules and regulations with respect to car service. Pursuant to the statute, car-service rule number seven of the Association of American Railroads has been established by the carriers, including Macon, Dublin & Savannah Railroad Company and Southern Railway Company. The rule provides: "Cars shall be considered as having been delivered to a connecting railroad when placed upon the track agreed upon and designated as the interchange track for such deliveries, accompanied or preceded by proper data for forwarding and to insure delivery, and accepted by the car inspector of the receiving yard." The defendants contend that the laws above referred to make the employees of the Southern the agents of the M. D. & S. while a transfer compelled by the act and rules promulgated under it is in progress, and make the designated track the track of M. D. & S. We cannot agree with this contention. While the track designated by the Southern for the use of M. D. & S. might have been considered the latter's track so as to make M. D. & S. liable for not furnishing Mr. Allen a safe place to work, we do not see how L. A. Smith could be considered an agent or servant of M. D. & S. He was not paid by M. D. & S.; he was not under its control, and was not performing any service in connection with providing M. D. & S. with a track on which to place its cars; and even if he had been so engaged, he would have been doing his work as an agent and servant of the Southern and not M. D. & S. The fact that Federal laws and interstate commerce were involved does not have the automatic effect in the circumstances of this case of making L. A. Smith an agent or servant of M. D. & S. Before the Federal Employer's Liability Act can come into play, there must exist the relation of employer and employee between the one who was injured and the railroad allegedly causing the injuries. On the question as to whether L. A. Smith was an employee of M. D. & S., see Hull v. Philadelphia & R.Ry. Co., 252 U. S. 475 (40 Sup. Ct. 358, 64 L. ed. 670); Robertson v. Yazoo & M. V. R. Co., 159 Fed. 2d 31; Central of Ga. Ry. Co. v. Bessinger, 17 Ga. App. 617 (87 S. E. 920). The mere fact, we repeat, that interstate commerce is involved does not broaden the field of the F.E.L. Act beyond the liability of an employing railroad for injury to or death of an employee due either to the railroad's negligence or to defects in track or equipment. That disposes of the defendants' first contention. The other contention is that, if both railroads were guilty of negligence which actively combined to cause the death, the plaintiff has no cause of action against anyone but the employer of the deceased employee. We do not so understand the law. If any law was ever written and more liberally interpreted as designed to benefit an employee, we have not had occasion to see it. Our own Supreme Court has held that the F.E.L. Act does not preclude action against a fellow employee. Lee v. Central of Ga. Ry. Co., 147 Ga. 428 (94 S. E. 558), which was affirmed in Lee v. Central of Ga. Ry. Co., 252 U. S. 109 (40 Sup. Ct. 254, 64 L. ed. 482). The mere fact that a third party whose negligence contributed to an injury is engaged in interstate commerce does not alter the principle stated in the two above cases. Cott v. Erie R. Co., 231 N. Y. 67 (131 N. E. 737); Schosboek v. Chicago &c. R. Co., 191 Wash. 425 (71 Pac. 2d 548). The fact that where the relationship of employee and employer exists, and the defendant railroad is liable for injuries to the employee, no right of recovery exists in the parent (N. Y. Cent. & Hudson River R. Co. v. Tonsellito, 244 U. S. 360, 37 Sup. Ct. 620, 61 L. ed. 1194), affords no basis for broadening the perimeter of the F.E.L. Act to preclude actions
by employees against non-employers merely because such non-employers are engaged in interstate commerce. The F.E.L. Act is paramount and exclusive in its own field, but its field does not cover the right of an employee of one interstate carrier to recover from another interstate carrier for the latter's negligence contributing proximately to the employee's injury. It follows that, whether the alleged negligence of the Southern was the sole cause of the injuries or one of the contributing proximate causes, an action would lie against the Southern in the plaintiff's favor under the Georgia death statute. The Federal Employers' Liability Act covers one field and one only, and outside of the exclusive and circumscribed field the employee is not precluded from his other remedies. The field covered by this act is the right of an employee or his personal representative to recover for the employee's injury or death by reason of the negligence or other act of the employing railroad which caused the injury or death in whole or in part. The act does not contemplate the field in which the negligence of the employer or other coemployees of the plaintiff or plaintiff's intestate combines with the negligence of one not an employer or fellow employee of the injured or deceased employee. The words in the act, "for such injury or death resulting in whole or in part from the negligence," etc., are used in reference to the negligence of the employer and employee. In other words, the act gives a right of recovery where the injury or death is caused solely by the employer's negligence or act or partly by the employer's negligence (through its employees or agents) and partly by the injured or deceased employee's negligence or partly by a cause outside human agency. If an injury is occasioned in either of the above ways, a right of action lies exclusively under the Federal act. We think the statement by Mr. Justice Van Devanter, speaking for the court on another question, in Second Employers' Liability Cases, 223 U. S. 1 (32 Sup. Ct. 169, 56 L. ed. 327) shows without question that this conclusion is correct. At page 49 he said: "Briefly stated, the departures from the common law made by the portions of the act against which the first objection is leveled are these: (a) The rule that the negligence of one employee resulting in injury to another was not to be attributed to their common employer, is displaced by a rule imposing upon the employer responsibility for such an injury, as was done at common law when the injured person was not an employee; (b) the rule exonerating an employer from liability for injury sustained by an employee through the concurring negligence of the employer and the employee is abrogated in all instances where the employer's violation of a statute enacted for the safety of his employees contributes to the injury, and in other instances is displaced by the rule of comparative negligence, whereby the exoneration is only from a proportional part of the damages corresponding to the amount of negligence attributable to the employee; (c) the rule that an employee was deemed to assume the risk of injury, even if due to the employer's negligence, where the employee voluntarily entered or remained in the service with an actual or presumed knowledge of the conditions out of which the risk arose, is abrogated in all instances where the employer's violation of a statute enacted for the safety of his employees contributed to the injury; and (d) the rule denying a right of action for the death of one person caused by the wrongful act or neglect of another is displaced by a rule vesting such a right of action in the personal representatives of the deceased for the benefit of designated relatives."
The lack of Federal law on the subject and the evils sought to be remedied as between employer and employee so overwhelm any other subject or consideration as to exclude any intention of covering any other territory than rights between employer and employee exclusively. There is an additional practical reason why this conclusion would seem to be sound. Take the facts in this case for example. The employee's representative was faced with the question whom to sue. If the negligence of both railroads contributed to the death, must she sue the M. D. & S. alone under the act? Is the Southern to be excused from its part in the tragedy in such an event, if it had any part in it? If it is doubtful which railroad is liable or whether both are, must the plaintiff bring two actions before she can determine the liability of the two railroads? In this case Southern Railway Company was the only railroad sued, presumably for the reason that the plaintiff thought her case was strongest against the Southern and thought that, if both railroads were negligent, she would be required to pursue the M. D. & S. alone if she proceeded under the F.E.L. Act. Under our view, the plaintiff could have brought her action under the Georgia statute against the M. D. & S., the Southern, and L. A. Smith. Under our decisions, if we are correct in this view, she could sue any one or more defendants at her election. This view also eliminates another monstrous possibility, and that is a double recovery, one from the Southern under the Georgia act, and one from M. D. & S. under the Federal act. The court did not err in overruling the demurrers to the petition and in sustaining the plaintiff's demurrers to the Southern's plea in bar and L. A. Smith's plea to the jurisdiction as to the points covered in this division.
3. Ground 4 of the defendants' motion for new trial complains of the court's refusal to qualify the jury by purging the panel of any and all persons who were employees of, stockholders in, or related to stockholders in Macon, Dublin & Savannah Railroad Company, it being stated in said ground that the following was made to appear to the court and thereafter to the trial jurors: (a) that the plaintiff's deceased husband was an employee of M. D. & S. at the time of his death; (b) that the death of the plaintiff's decedent resulted from a collision between a Southern engine and a transfer of the M. D. & S.; (c) that the primary issue in the trial of the case was whether the deceased's death was proximately caused by the negligence of the defendant Southern Railway Company and its employees, including the defendant L. A. Smith, or by the negligence of the M. D. & S. and its employees, including the plaintiff's deceased husband; (d) that the defendant Southern Railway Company had pending claims against Macon, Dublin & Savannah Railroad Company for damage to the Southern's equipment sustained in the aforesaid collision; (e) that the defendants had vouched M. D. & S. into this court and with relation to this suit. We do not think that the refusal so to qualify the jury was error. Lewis v. Williams, 78 Ga. App. 494 (51 S. E. 2d 532). Under the facts of this case, the vouching of the M. D. & S. by the Southern would not result in a liability to Southern by M. D. & S., under the ruling in division two hereof. Mashburn v. Dannenberg Co., 117 Ga. 567 (44 S. E. 97); Southern Ry. Co. v. City of Rome, 179 Ga. 449 (176 S. E. 7), Gazaway v. Nicholson, 190 Ga. 345 (9 S. E. 2d 154); Eidson v. Maddox, 195 Ga. 641 (24 S. E. 2d 895). The writer, speaking for himself alone, is of the opinion that there should be a change in our law to cure injustices arising from the inability of one joint tort-feasor to obtain contribution from another joint tort-feasor whom a plaintiff elects not to sue. It would seem that a joint defendant should be allowed to make all other joint tort-feasors parties defendant by an application to the court showing a meritorious request for such action.
4. Grounds 5, 6, and 9 of the amended motion complain that the plaintiff was permitted to call two employees of the Southern Railway Company for cross-examination over the objection of L. A. Smith, and that Smith's counsel was not permitted to examine one of these employees while he was on the stand after being examined by the plaintiff. The reason given for the first complaint is that the testimony of the employees was not binding on L. A. Smith. As to the first complaint, the court did not err. While it is true that the employees of the Southern were not employees or witnesses of Smith, and Smith was not bound by their testimony, Code 38-1801 and Ga. Laws 1945, p. 227, and 1947, p. 568 (Code, Ann. Supp., 38-1801) unqualifiedly give the plaintiff the right to call these witnesses. As to the principle involved, see Miller v. Minhinnette, 185 Ga. 490 (195 S. E. 425). It would seem that the effect of their testimony should be explained to the jury by the court in timely and proper instructions. There is no assignment of error in this case upon the court's failure to give such an instruction either with or without a request. As to the second complaint stated in this division, the court did not abuse its discretion in refusing to allow counsel for L. A. Smith to examine a witness while he was on the stand after being cross-examined by the plaintiff. L. A. Smith could have called the witnesses back to the stand as his own witnesses at any time if he had so desired. It is not contended for any sufficient reason that Smith should have been allowed to cross-examine the witness.
5. Grounds 7 and 8 of the amended motion show no reversible error.
6. Ground 10, complaining of the admission of testimony by the plaintiff as to the number and ages of her children, is conceded by the plaintiffs in error to be controlled by W. & A. R. v. Gray, 172 Ga. 286, 305 (157 S. E. 482).
8. Ground 15 complains of the court's permitting the plaintiff to ask a hypothetical question which was not adjusted to undisputed facts, which assumed the existence of non-existent facts, and that the facts included in the question furnished no basis for a conclusion of the witness. As this case must be tried again, we do not deem it necessary to pass on this exception. If the question asked is deficient in any respect, it can and presumably will be rephrased on another trial.
& S. crew combined to cause it and that the defendants' negligence was one of the contributing proximate causes. A plaintiff is not penalized by alleging more than is necessary. Garrett v. Morris & Co., 104 Ga. 84, 88 (30 S. E. 685); St. Clair v. State Highway Board, 45 Ga. App. 488, 489 (165 S. E. 297); Winn v. Hinson, 64 Ga. App. 48, 50 (2) (12 S. E. 2d 172). However, there was no evidence that both trains were moving at the time of the collision and, if the evidence is the same on another trial, such a theory should not be submitted to the jury. 12. Ground 49 complains of the charge of the court: "I charge you that the violation of a specific company rule constitutes negligence while the violation of a general company rule would be negligence only if you find as a fact that such violation, if any, amounted to a failure to exercise ordinary care." Rule 93, providing for an operating speed so as to afford ability to stop within less than one-half the range of vision, was introduced by both sides. As to certain of the assignments of error in this ground, the ground is incomplete. It shows only one specific rule and does not show what the other rules were. In view of our ruling in this ground, this point becomes immaterial. As the case must be tried again, it may be well to state that, in charging the jury on various rules of the two railroads, the court should explain to the jury just which rules it is contended and shown by evidence that each crew was bound by.
Now as to the crux of the complaint. It was error for the court to charge that the violation of a company rule was negligence. The fact that only violations of general law, municipal ordinances, rules of the Public Service Commission, and the like are considered and held to be negligence per se is too well known to require citations. The violation of a private company rule is not such a violation, and so far as we can ascertain no court in Georgia has ever so held. There may be rulings to such effect in other jurisdictions. There are two lines of authority on the effect of such rules. One is that the rules are admissible on the question of negligence, though not conclusive, "on the theory that they are in the nature of admissions by the party promulgating them that reasonable care required the exercise of the precautions therein prescribed. Second, the rule that they are inadmissible, on the theory that the standard of duty is fixed by law, and so such standard cannot be enlarged or decreased by private rules of the corporation." L.R.A. 1917 C 793-799. The writer, speaking for himself alone, believes that the second line of cases is sound and that the first is not. The making of such rules should not be an admission that the care prescribed is ordinary care because the party has the right to require extraordinary care if it so desires; and further because the failure to make a rule to fit a situation could not be used to show that a party did not consider it so dangerous as to require a rule prescribing particular conduct. The admission in evidence of such rules tends to discourage such parties as railroads, etc., from making stringent rules to safeguard the public, employees, and property for fear they will be held to be admissions that the conduct called for by such rule is ordinary care. However, the rule in Georgia is pronounced and clear and without exception or dissent. Such rules are admissible as illustrative of negligence, but the violation of such a rule is not negligence in and of itself. Georgia Railroad v. Williams, 74 Ga. 723; Chattanooga, R. & C. R. Co. v. Whitehead, 90 Ga. 47 (15 S. E. 629); Atlanta Consolidated Street Ry. Co. v. Bates, 103 Ga. 333 (30 S. E. 41); Foster v. Southern Ry. Co., 42 Ga. App. 830 (157 S. E. 371); Pollard v. Roberson, 61 Ga. App. 465 (6 S. E. 2d 203); Callaway v. Pickard, 68 Ga. App. 637 (23 S. E. 2d 564); Southern Ry. Co. v. Tiller, 20 Ga. App. 251 (92 S. E. 1011). The court erred in charging that the violation of a specific rule was negligence. This ruling applies to the charge complained of in ground 50, to wit: "I charge you that in order for the violation of a specific company rule applicable to the situation under investigation, or any act of negligence, to be the basis of a recovery in an action based on negligence, or to enure to the benefit of a party, such violation must have been the proximate cause of the collision." Cases in which employees of railroads or other corporations were held to have been barred from recovery because of violations of rules by which they were bound, such as Schaufele v. Central of Ga. Ry. Co., 6 Ga. App. 660 (65 S. E. 708), and Atlantic Coast Line R. Co. v. McLeod, 9 Ga. App. 13, 22 (70 S. E. 214), are not applicable. Mr. Allen was an invitee of the Southern Railroad, and L. A.
Smith's violation of a rule made for his and Mr. Allen's benefit would not constitute negligence per se, though it might preclude Smith from recovering from his employer for its alleged negligence. 13. As the case must be tried again, it is not necessary to rule on grounds 51, 52, and 53.
Assignments of error not argued or insisted on are waived.
The grounds of the amended motions herein passed on are those contained in the joint motion of the defendants. These grounds are numbered differently in the two separate motions; and, as the questions are the same, we shall not refer to the numbers of the amended grounds in the separate motions.
The court did not err in overruling the defendants' demurrers to the petition as amended, and in sustaining the plaintiff's demurrers to the railroad's plea in bar and to L. A. Smith's plea to the jurisdiction. The court erred in denying the three motions for new trial.
Judgments on pleadings affirmed. Judgments denying the motions for new trial reversed. Sutton, C. J., and Worrill, J., concur.
Bloch, Hall, Groover & Hawkins, contra. (Cases nos. 34626 34627.)
Martin, Snow & Grant, contra. (Cases nos. 34625, 34626, 34627.)
Bloch, Hall, Groover & Hawkins, Grady Gillon, for plaintiffs in error.
DECIDED JUNE 18, 1953.
Saturday May 23 04:25 EDT


This site exists because of donors like you.

Thanks!


Valid HTML 4.0!

Valid CSS!





Home - Tour - Disclaimer - Privacy - Contact Us
Copyright © 2000,2002,2004 Lawskills.com