UNION PACIFIC RY. CO. V. HARRIS, 158 U. S. 326 (1895)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Union Pacific Ry. Co. v. Harris, 158 U.S. 326 (1895)

Union Pacific Railway Company v. Harris

No. 896

Submitted April 15, 1895

Decided May 20, 1895

158 U.S. 326


Writs of error to circuit courts of appeals in actions for damages for negligence of railroad corporations are allowed when the corporations are chartered under the laws of the United States.

In an action against a railway company to recover for injuries caused by a collision with a car loaded with coal for a coal company which had escaped from the side track and run upon the main track, it is held, in view of the evidence, to be no error to charge that the railway company is bound to keep its track clear from obstructions and to see that the cars which it uses on side tracks are secured in place, so that they will not come upon the track to overthrow any train that may come along. When in such an action the defendant sets up a written release of all claims for damages signed by plaintiff, and the plaintiff, not denying its execution, sets up that it was signed by him in ignorance of its contents at a time when he was under great suffering from his injuries and in a state approaching to unconsciousness caused by his injuries and by the use of morphine, the question is one for the jury, under proper instructions from the court, and in this case, the instructions were proper.

This was an action brought in the Circuit Court of the United States for the District of Colorado by Robert E. Harris against the Union Pacific Railway Company to recover for personal injuries received by him while he was a passenger on defendant's train. Plaintiff recovered judgment in the circuit court, and the defendant sued out a writ of error from the Circuit Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, by which the judgment was affirmed. 63 F.8d 0. A writ of error from this Court was allowed, and, the cause having been docketed, motions to dismiss or affirm were submitted.

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