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U.S. Supreme Court

Choctaw, Oklahoma & Gulf R. Co. v. Holloway, 191 U.S. 334 (1903)

Choctaw, Oklahoma & Gulf Railroad Company v. Holloway

No. 68

Submitted November 10, 1903

Decided November 30, 1903

191 U.S. 334


If an employee can, by the use of his eyes, see that the machinery is defective, he is bound by that fact, even though he has not actually observed the defect; but a fireman who has only been six hours on an engine is not bound to have made a careful examination of the engine, in order to charge the company with negligence or to exonerate himself from contributory negligence.

There is no necessity for the court to call the attention of the jury to the rule that a railroad company is only bound to exercise reasonable care to supply a reasonably safe engine when it appears from uncontradicted evidence that the engine supplied was not equipped with brakes under circumstances which made the omission prima facie evidence of negligence.

Where the company has negligently failed to equip an engine with brakes and it is derailed by striking an obstacle which was on the track without

Page 191 U. S. 335

negligence of the company, and there is evidence that the engine could have been stopped more quickly with than without brakes, it is for the jury to say whether there would have been an accident had the brakes been on and fit to use, and if the obstacle caused the necessity for brakes, the neglect of the company to furnish them constitutes the immediate and proximate cause of the accident, rather than the existence of the obstacle.

The facts are stated in the opinion.

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