City Suburban Railway of Washington v. Svedborg

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Court Documents

United States Supreme Court

194 U.S. 201

City Suburban Railway of Washington  v.  Svedborg

 Argued: April 13, 1904. --- Decided: May 2, 1904

The plaintiff in error is a corporation organized under acts of Congress and engaged in the business of carrying passengers for hire in street cars operated on public highways in the District of Columbia.

The defendant in error was received as a passenger on one of such cars, and, in alighting from the one in which she was riding, was thrown to the ground and seriously injured.

The present action was brought against the railway company to cover damages on account of such injuries, the theory of the plaintiff's case being that the car in which she was a passenger was stopped for her to alight from it, and, while she was stepping off it, was suddenly and recklessly started, whereby, without negligence on her part, she was violently thrown to the ground.

The railway company pleaded not guilty as alleged, and the plaintiff joined issue on that plea.

The case was then tried before the court and a jury, the plaintiff introducing evidence tending to sustain her theory as to the cause of the injuries received by her, while the defendant introduced evidence tending to sustain its theory, which was that the plaintiff negligently attempted to alight from the car before it had actually stopped.

At the conclusion of the plaintiff's evidence the defendant asked the court to instruct the jury to find in its favor, upon the ground that the evidence was insufficient to justify a verdict for the plaintiff. That motion was denied, and the defendant excepted. The defendant then introduced evidence, at the close of which the motion to direct a verdict in its favor was renewed. The motion was also denied, and the defendant excepted.

It appears from the record that the court then granted two instructions at the request of the plaintiff and six instructions asked by the defendant. But none of the instructions so given on either side, were embodied in the bill of exceptions. What they were this court has no means of knowing.

There was a verdict and judgment in favor of the plaintiff for 6,500, and that judgment was affirmed in the court of appeals for the District.

Messrs. R. B. Behrend, C. C. Cole, and J. J. Darlington for plaintiff in error.

Messrs. A. A. Lipscomb, Philip Walker, and Charles P. Janney for defendant in error

Mr. Justice Harlan 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).