Texas Pacific Railway Company v. Watson
This action was originally commenced in a Texas state court by the appellee Watson, to recover the value of 64 bales of cotton, less insurance thereon. The cotton was alleged to have been destroyed by fire on January 3, 1896, while stored upon what was known as the O'Neil cotton platform near the depot of the railway company at Clarksville, Red River county, Texas. The fire was averred to have been occasioned by the negligence of the railway company in the use of a defectively constructed locomotive and in the careless operation thereof while passing said platform. Subsequently the insurance company was joined as plaintiff, and recovery was asked of the full value of the cotton. Upon application of the defendant, based upon the fact that it was incorporated under the laws of the United States, the cause was removed to the United States circuit court for the eastern district of Texas. In the latter court an amended answer was filed. This pleading contained general and special demurrers, a general denial, and a special answer setting up various defenses. The general and special demurrers were subsequently overruled, and defendant excepted. A trial was had, and it was shown by the evidence that at the point where the fire in question occurred the track of the railway company ran east and west, and the train which it was asserted caused the fire in question was moving eastward, and a strong wind was blowing from the north. A verdict was rendered in favor of the plaintiff Watson and against the railroad and against the plaintiff insurance company in favor of the railroad. Judgment was entered on the verdict; the judgment was affirmed by the circuit court of appeals for the fifth circuit (50 C. C. A. 230, 112 Fed. 402), and the cause was then brought to this court by writ of error.
Messrs. David D. Duncan, John F. Dillon, and Winslow S. Pierce for plaintiff in error.
Messrs. J. W. Bailey, E. S.C.hambers, and Amos L. Beaty for defendant in error.
Mr. Justice White, after making the foregoing statement, delivered the opinion of the court: