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U.S. Supreme Court

Pennsylvania Company v. Roy, 102 U.S. 451 (1880)

Pennsylvania Company v. Roy

102 U.S. 451


1. A carrier of passengers for hire is bound to observe the utmost caution, and is responsible to them for such injuries received in the course of their transportation as might have been avoided or guarded against by his exercise of extraordinary vigilance, aided by the highest skill.

2. Such caution and vigilance extend to all the appliances and means used by him in transporting them. He must therefore provide cars or vehicles adequate, that is, sufficiently secure as to strength and other requisites, for their safe conveyance, and he is liable in damages if, by reason of the slightest negligence or fault in that regard, injury results to a passenger.

3. A passenger purchased from a railroad company a ticket over its line, and, at the same time, from a palace car company, a ticket entitling him to a berth in one of its sleeping cars, constituting a part of the train of the railroad company. In the course of transportation, he was injured by the falling of a berth in the sleeping car in which he was at the time riding. Held that for the purposes of the contract with the railroad company for transportation, and in view of its obligation to use only cars that were adequate for safe conveyance, the palace car company, its conductor and porter, were in law the servants and employees of the railroad company, and that the negligence of either of them, as to any matters involving the safety or security of passengers was that of the railroad company.

4. In such case, the injured passenger being entitled only to compensatory damages,

Page 102 U. S. 452

evidence as to his poverty or the number and ages of his children is irrelevant.

5. Where, before the final submission of the case to the jury, irrelevant evidence which had been admitted was withdrawn and they were instructed to disregard it, held that an exception to the action of the court will not be sustained, the presumption being, so far as this court is concerned,

that, under such circumstances the jury based their verdict upon legal evidence only.

The facts are stated in the opinion of the Court.

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