DELK V. ST. LOUIS & S.F. R. CO., 220 U. S. 580 (1911)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Delk v. St. Louis & S.F. R. Co., 220 U.S. 580 (1911)

Delk v. St. Louis & San Francisco Railroad Company

No. 88

Argued March 9, 1911

Decided May 15, 1911

220 U.S. 580


A car containing an interstate shipment, stopped for repairs before it reaches its destination and the cargo whereof is not ready for delivery to the consignees, is still engaged in interstate commerce and subject to the provisions of the Safety Appliance Acts.

Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railway v. United States, ante, p. 220 U. S. 559, followed to effect that, under the Safety Appliance Acts of March 2, 1893, c.196, 27 Stat. 531; April 1, 1896, c. 87, 29 Stat. 85; March 2, 1903, c. 976, 32 Stat. 943, the carrier is not bound only to the extent of its best endeavors, but is subject to an absolute duty to provide and keep proper couplers at all times and under all circumstances.

Prior to the amendment by the Act of April 22, 1908, c. 149, 35 Stat. 65, the carrier had a defense where contributory negligence on the part of the party injured was the proximate cause of the injury. Schlemmer v. Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh Railway Co., post, p. 220 U. S. 590.

Where the court instructs the jury to the effect that they must find for plaintiff in case they believe he acted as a reasonably prudent man with his experience would have acted, but that they must find for defendant if they believe the plaintiff acted in a manner a reasonably prudent man would not have acted, the question of contributory negligence is fairly submitted.

Where the Circuit Court rightly construed the law involved and there was no error in the admission of evidence, and the circuit court of appeals reverses the judgment on a mistaken view of the law, there is no reason to disturb the verdict of the trial court, and the judgment of the circuit court of appeals will be reversed and that of the trial court affirmed.

The facts, which involve the construction of the Safety Appliance Acts and the duties and rights of carriers and their employees thereunder, are stated in the opinion.

Page 220 U. S. 581

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