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NORTHERN PACIFIC RAILROAD COMPANY v. POIRIER.

decided: May 10, 1897.

NORTHERN PACIFIC RAILROAD COMPANY
v.
POIRIER.



ERROR TO THE COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT.

Author: Shiras

[ 167 U.S. Page 51]

 MR. JUSTICE SHIRAS, after stating the case, delivered the opinion of the court.

At the close of the evidence the plaintiff moved the court to give the following instruction:

"In this case there is no evidence that the defendant, the Northern Pacific Railroad Company, was guilty of any negligence which caused the accident by which plaintiff was injured, or which contributed thereto, and that if there was any negligence it was that of the engineer and conductor, or one of them, of the second train, and such conductor and engineer being fellow-servants of the plaintiff, there would be no liability therefor on the part of the railroad company, and therefore you will return a verdict for the defendants."

The refusal of the trial court to give this instruction was assigned for error in the Circuit Court of Appeals, and the ruling of the latter court in affirming such refusal is complained of in the first assignment in this court.

This request assumes that there was no evidence of negligence on the part of the conductor of the first train sufficient to submit to the jury. The trial court said as to this question: "The particular negligence charged against the railroad company

[ 167 U.S. Page 52]

     is that the conductor of the first train, the one upon which the plaintiff was employed as a brakeman, when he brought his train to a stop at Clyde station, neglected his duty by failing to place a flagman a sufficient distance back on the track to warn the following train, which is called the second train in this complaint, of the danger of coming too close to that station while the first train was stopped there." The Circuit Court of Appeals made no observation on this part of the case. Both the courts discuss the case chiefly upon the question of the liability of the company arising out of the negligence shown in the management of the second train.

The counsel for the defendant in error contends, in his brief, that the conductor of the first train was guilty of negligence in not obeying the following rules of the company, put in evidence by the plaintiff:

"RULE 133. When a train is stopped by an accident or obstruction, the rear brakeman must immediately go back with danger signals to stop any train moving in the same direction. At a point fifteen telegraph poles from the rear of his train he must place one torpedo on the rail; he must then continue to go back at least thirty telegraph poles from the rear of his train and place two torpedoes on the rail, ten yards apart, when he may return to the point where first torpedo was placed, and he must remain there until recalled by the whistle of his engine; but if a passenger train is due within ten minutes he must remain until it arrives. When he comes in he will remove the torpedo nearest the train, but the two torpedoes must be left on the rail as a caution signal to any following train. If it becomes necessary to protect the front of the train, the front brakeman must go forward and use the same precautions. In case of necessity the fireman will be required to act as flagman.

"RULE 134. When a flagman is sent out to signal any approaching train, he must, if possible, avoid stopping on a curve, or behind any obstruction, endeavoring to pass beyond the same, should such exist, and reach a position where he can be clearly seen from the approaching train, for at least

[ 167 U.S. Page 53]

     one fourth of a mile. The conductor must know that his train is fully protected in both directions, and he will be held responsible if any accident occurs from ...


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