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U.S. Supreme Court

City & Suburban Railway v. Svedborg, 194 U.S. 201 (1904)

City and Suburban Railway v. Svedborg

No. 214

Argued April 13, 1904

Decided May 2, 1904

194 U.S. 201


Where there is evidence of a substantial character bearing upon the general issue, the question is for the jury even though the court may think there is a preponderance of evidence for the party moving for a direction.

Plaintiff is entitled to a verdict if the injury is caused by any of defendant's employees, and it is not error for the court to insert "or other employees" in a requested instruction to the jury that they must find for defendant in absence of negligence on the part of the particular employees against whom the evidence was principally directed.

The plaintiff in error is a corporation organized under acts of Congress and engaged in the business of carrying passengers for hire in streetcars operated on public highways in the District of Columbia.

The defendant in error was received as a passenger on one of such cars, and, in alighting from the one in which she was riding, was thrown to the ground and seriously injured.

The present action was brought against the railway company to cover damages on account of such injuries, the theory of the plaintiff's case being that the car in which she was a passenger was stopped for her to alight from it, and, while she was stepping off it, was suddenly and recklessly started, whereby, without negligence on her part, she was violently thrown to the ground.

The railway company pleaded not guilty as alleged, and the plaintiff joined issue on that plea.

The case was then tried before the court and a jury, the plaintiff introducing evidence tending to sustain her theory as to the cause of the injuries received by her, while the defendant introduced evidence tending to sustain its theory, which was that the plaintiff negligently attempted to alight from the car before it had actually stopped.

Page 194 U. S. 202

At the conclusion of the plaintiff's evidence, the defendant asked the court to instruct the jury to find in its favor upon the ground that the evidence was insufficient to justify a verdict for the plaintiff. That motion was denied, and the defendant excepted. The defendant then introduced evidence at the close of which the motion to direct a verdict in its favor was renewed. The motion was also denied, and the defendant excepted.

It appears from the record that the court then granted two instructions at the request of the plaintiff and six instructions asked by the defendant. But none of the instructions so given on either side was embodied in the bill of exceptions. What they were this Court has no means of knowing.

There was a verdict and judgment in favor of the plaintiff for $6,500, and that judgment was affirmed in the Court of Appeals for the District.

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