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MISSOURI v. WULF.

decided: January 6, 1913.

MISSOURI, KANSAS AND TEXAS RAILWAY COMPANY
v.
WULF.



ERROR TO THE CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FIFTH CIRCUIT.

Author: Pitney

[ 226 U.S. Page 571]

 MR. JUSTICE PITNEY delivered the opinion of the court.

The defendant in error, Sallie C. Wulf, in her individual capacity, commenced this action January 23, 1909, in the Circuit Court of the United States for the Eastern District of Texas, to recover damages by reason of the death of her son, Fred S. Wulf, which occurred November 27, 1908, while he was in the employ of the defendant (now plaintiff in error) as a locomotive fireman, and in the performance of his duties as such upon a train bound

[ 226 U.S. Page 572]

     from Parsons in the State of Kansas to Osage in the State of Oklahoma.The original petition set up diversity of citizenship, plaintiff being alleged to be a bona fide inhabitant, resident and citizen of Texas, and the defendant a corporation organized under the laws of the State of Kansas. For cause of action it was averred that the decedent's death was the result of a bursting of the locomotive boiler, due to defects therein attributable to the negligence of the employer. It was further averred that -- "Plaintiff is the mother of the said Fred S. Wulf and is a feme sole: and the said Fred S. Wulf was an unmarried man, leaving no wife or children surviving. That his father died prior to the time that he died, and plaintiff is the sole heir, next of kin, and beneficiary of the estate of the said Fred S. Wulf, deceased. That there is no administration pending on the said estate of the said Fred S. Wulf, within this State (Texas) or elsewhere, and that none is necessary. That said decedent was a resident citizen of the State of Texas when he was killed, but was temporarily working in Kansas. That by virtue of the laws of the State of Kansas, where the said Fred S. Wulf was killed, a right of action is provided by statute, for injuries resulting in death." The plaintiff demanded $40,000 damages. On May 19, 1909, defendant filed its original answer, consisting of a general demurrer, a general denial of the allegations of the petition, and averments that the injuries complained of were proximately caused and contributed to by deceased's own negligence and want of ordinary care and by that of his fellow-servants. No action appears to have been taken upon this pleading; but on January 6, 1911, defendant filed its first amended answer, consisting of a general demurrer; a special demurrer to the claim of $40,000 damages, on the ground that under the laws of Kansas the damages were limited to $10,000; and averments that at the time of the injury and death of deceased defendant was engaged in interstate commerce,

[ 226 U.S. Page 573]

     and deceased was in its employ and was himself engaged in interstate commerce, and that the cause of action is not governed by the laws of Kansas, but arises out of the Federal Employers' Liability Act of 1908. There was also a general denial of the allegations of the petition, and an averment of contributory negligence on the part of the deceased and of his fellow-servants. Upon the same day (January 6, 1911), the plaintiff filed her first amended original petition, averring that she was the sole heir and next of kin of Fred S. Wulf, deceased; that at the time of the filing of the original petition there was no administration upon his estate and no necessity for any; that on January 4, 1911, she was duly appointed temporary administratrix of his estate by the County Court of Grayson County, Texas, a court of competent jurisdiction, and qualified as such, with full power and authority to prosecute this suit as party plaintiff, and had made application to be appointed permanent administratrix; "That there now exists no necessity for an administration upon the estate of the said Fred S. Wulf, deceased, unless the same should be necessary for the sole purpose of prosecuting this suit as administratrix of said decedent for the benefit of herself as the surviving parent and next of kin of the said decedent; said plaintiff being the next of kin and sole beneficiary of whatever may be recovered in this suit. She therefore sues in her original capacity as such sole beneficiary and next of kin, but in the event it shall be determined that she is not entitled to recover in said capacity, then she asks that she be allowed to recover as administratrix for her benefit as aforesaid. Therefore, she sues both in her individual capacity and as administratrix as aforesaid." The averment of diversity of citizenship was repeated, as were those averments of the original petition that set forth the cause of action. The amended petition further averred -- "That by virtue of both the laws of the State of Kansas, where the said Fred S. Wulf

[ 226 U.S. Page 574]

     was killed, and the acts of Congress of the United States of America, a right of action is provided for injuries resulting in death in the manner and form and in the occupation that deceased was engaged in at the time of his death." This amendment was allowed by the court, and an order was made permitting the plaintiff to prosecute as the personal representative of the deceased for her individual benefit, as well as in her individual capacity. Thereafter the defendant filed its second amended answer, by which it excepted to that portion of the amended petition making Sallie C. Wulf a party plaintiff, because "under the act of Congress, known as the Employers' Liability Act, she is not a proper party to said suit;" excepted to that portion making her a party as temporary administratrix, "because she was not made a party thereto as such administratrix at the time of the filing of the original petition;" and excepted to that portion seeking to make her a party as administratrix, because the amendment making her a party in that capacity was made more than two years from the time the alleged cause of action accrued, and for that the cause of action, if any, was barred by the limitation of two years.There was also a general denial of the allegations of fact in plaintiff's petition contained, "except that this defendant says that at the time the said deceased was killed he was engaged in interstate commerce."

The exceptions being overruled, a trial was had upon the issues of fact, and resulted in a verdict and judgment in favor of the plaintiff (now defendant in error) for $7,000, which was affirmed by the Circuit Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit (192 Fed. Rep. 919), and the case comes here by writ of error.

The judgment of the Circuit Court being founded upon the Federal Employers' Liability Act, so that the jurisdiction of that court was not dependent entirely upon the diversity of citizenship of the parties, the judgment of the

[ 226 U.S. Page 575]

     Circuit Court of Appeals was not made final by § 6 of the Evarts Act, and thus (the matter in controversy exceeding one thousand dollars), there is a right to a writ of error from this court. Act of March 3, 1891, 26 Stat. 828, c. 517, § 6; Judicial Code ...


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