BOYLAN V. HOT SPRINGS R. CO., 132 U. S. 146 (1889)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Boylan v. Hot Springs R. Co., 132 U.S. 146 (1889)

Boylan v. Hot Springs Railroad Company

No. 1140

Submitted October 31, 1889

Decided November 11, 1889

132 U.S. 146


The purchaser from a railroad company at a reduced rate of fare, of a ticket for a passage to a certain station and back, containing a contract signed by him by which he agrees that the ticket is not good for a return passage unless stamped by the agent of the company at that station, and that no agent or employee of the company is authorized to alter, modify or waive any condition of the contract, is bound by those conditions, whether he knew them or not, and if without having attempted to have the ticket so stamped, but upon showing it to the baggage master and gateman at the station, he has his ticket punched and his baggage checked, and is admitted to the train, and, upon being told by the conductor that his ticket is not good for want of the stamp, refuses either to leave the train or to pay full fare, and is forcibly put off at the next station, he cannot maintain an action sounding in contract against the company, or except to the exclusion at the trial of such an action of evidence concerning the circumstances attending his expulsion and the consequent injuries to him or his business.

This was an action of assumpsit against a railroad corporation by a person who, after taking passage on one of its trains, was forcibly expelled by the conductor.

Page 132 U. S. 147

At the trial in the circuit court, the plaintiff testified that on March 18, 1882, he purchased at the office of the Wabash, St. Louis and Pacific Railway Company in Chicago a ticket for a passage to Hot Springs and back, (which is copied in the margin * and which, as was alleged in the declaration and appeared upon the face of the ticket, was then signed by him as well as by the ticket agent, and witnessed by a third person), and upon this ticket traveled on the defendant's railroad to Hot Springs.

He was asked by his counsel when he first actually knew that the ticket required him to have it stamped at Hot Springs. The question was objected to by the defendant, and ruled out by the court.

He further testified that on April 19, 1882, when leaving Hot Springs on his return to Chicago, he went to the baggage office and requested the baggage master to check his baggage, and, on his asking to see the ticket, showed it to him, and he thereupon punched the ticket, checked the baggage, and gave him the checks for it, and also that the gateman asked to see the ticket, and he showed it to him, and then passed through the gate, and took his seat in the cars. This testimony was objected to by the defendant on the ground that no statement or action of the baggage master or of the gateman would constitute a waiver of any of the written conditions of the contract, and it was admitted by the court, subject to the objection.

Page 132 U. S. 148

The plaintiff then testified that soon after leaving Hot Springs, the conductor, in taking the tickets of passengers, came to him and, upon being shown his ticket, said it was not good, because he had failed to have it stamped at Hot Springs; the plaintiff replied that the baggage master, when checking his baggage, had said nothing to him about it, and he did not know it was necessary; the conductor answered that he must either go back to not Springs and have the ticket stamped or else pay full fare, but did not demand any specific sum of fare, or tell him what the fare was, and upon his refusing to pay another fare or to leave the train, forcibly put him off at the next station, notwithstanding he resisted as much as he could, and in so doing injured him in body and health.

Page 132 U. S. 149

On motion of the defendant upon the grounds, among others, that this was an action of assumpsit for breach of contract, and that the plaintiff failed to produce to the conductor a ticket or voucher which entitled him to be carried on the train, and that until the plaintiff identified himself at the office at Hot Springs and had the ticket stamped and signed by the agent there, he had no subsisting contract between himself and the defendant for a return passage to Chicago, the court declined to permit the plaintiff to testify to the consequent injury to his business and to his ability to earn money, excluded all evidence offered as to the force used in removing him from the train and as to his expulsion from the train, although corresponding to allegations inserted in the declaration, and directed a verdict for the defendant.

The plaintiff excepted to the rulings of the court and, after verdict and judgment for the defendant, sued out this writ of error.

Page 132 U. S. 150

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