Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Company v. Baugh

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Court Documents
Dissenting Opinion

United States Supreme Court

149 U.S. 368

Baltimore Company  v.  Baugh

Statement by Mr. Justice BREWER: John Baugh, defendant in error, was employed as a fireman on a locomotive of the plaintiff in error, and while so employed was injured, as is claimed, through the negligence of the engineer in charge thereof. He commenced a suit to recover for these injuries in the circuit court of the United States for the southern district of Ohio.

The circumstances of the injury are these: The locomotive was manned by one Hite, as engineer, and Baugh, as fireman, and was what is called in the testimony a 'helper.' On May 4, 1885, it left Bellaire, Ohio, attached to a freight train, which it helped to the top of the grade about 20 miles west of that point. At the top of the grade the helper was detached, and then returned alone to Bellaire. There were two ways in which it could return, in conformity to the rules of the company: one, on the special orders of the train dispatcher at Newark, and the other, by following some regular scheduled train, carrying signals to notify trains coming in the opposite direction that the helper was following it. This method was called in the testimony 'flagging back.' On the day in question, without special orders, and not following any scheduled train, the helper started back for Bellaire, and on the way collided with a regular local train, and in the collision Baugh was injured. Baugh had been in the employ of the railroad company about a year, had been flreman about six months, and had run on the helper, two trips a day, about two months. He knew that the helper had to keep out of the way of the trains, and was familiar with the method of flagging back.

No testimony was offered by the defendant, and at the close of plaintiff's testimony the defendant asked the court to direct a nonsuit, which motion was overruled, to which ruling an exception was duly taken. In its charge to the jury the court gave this instruction: 'If the injury results from negligence or carelessness on the part of one so placed in authority over the employe of the company, who is injured, as to direct and control that employe, then the company is liable.' To which instruction an exception was duly taken. The jury returned a verdict for the plaintiff for $6,750, and upon this verdict judgment was entered, to reverse which the railroad company sued out a writ of error from this court.

John K. Cowen, J. H. Collins, and Hugh L. Bond, Jr., for plaintiff in error.

L. Danford, for defendant in error.

Mr. Justice BREWER, after stating the facts in the foregoing language, delivered the opinion of the court.


This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).