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Martin v. Central Railroad Co.

Decided: January 31, 1936.

JENNIE Y. MARTIN, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT,
v.
CENTRAL RAILROAD COMPANY OF NEW JERSEY, PROSECUTOR RESPONDENT



On appeal from a judgment of the Supreme Court, whose opinion is reported in 115 N.J.L. 11.

For the appellant, Sidney Schwartz and Harvey Rothberg.

For the respondent, William F. Hanlon and Charles E. Miller.

Donges

The opinion of the court was delivered by

DONGES, J. This appeal seeks a review of a judgment of the Supreme Court which reversed a judgment of the Hudson County Court of Common Pleas affirming a determination of the workmen's compensation bureau, which had awarded compensation to appellant as a dependent under the Compensation act. Pamph. L. 1911, ch. 95.

The facts were stipulated. Appellant is the widow and sole dependent of Joseph Y. Martin, who was in the employ of respondent as a painter. On November 2d, 1932, it is conceded, the decedent met with an accident, arising out of and in the course of his employment, in the following manner:

"While repairing the skylight on the roof of the terminal train shed of the respondent, at Jersey City, he sustained a fall through the skylight on to the tracks, which fall caused his death."

The train shed was used by both interstate and intrastate trains, it being stipulated as follows:

"Some of these passenger trains come from out of the state, like Scranton or Easton, Pennsylvania, and some of them come from within the state, such as our seashore trains, carrying passengers in both classes of commerce."

The sole question involved is whether decedent was engaged in interstate commerce within the meaning of the Employers' Liability act of congress when he met his death. The material part of that act declares that a common carrier by railroad, while engaging in commerce between any of the several states, shall be liable in damages to any person, or his dependents, suffering injury while he is employed by such carrier in such commerce, if the injury be due to the negligence of the carrier, &c. And it has been held that when the injury or death occurs when both employer and employe are engaged in interstate commerce, the act of congress is paramount to, and exclusive

of, state regulation, whether there be causal negligence for which the carrier is responsible or not. New York Central Railroad Co. v. Winfield, 244 U.S. 147; Erie Railroad Co. v. Winfield, 244 Id. 170.

It becomes important, therefore, to consider the decisions of the federal court of last resort in determining the ...


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