Denver Railway Company v. Harris

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Court Documents

United States Supreme Court

122 U.S. 597

Denver Railway Company  v.  Harris

[Syllabus from page 597 intentionally omitted]

This action was brought by James Harris, the defendant in error, against the Denver & Rio Grande Railway Company, a corporation of the state of Colorado, to recover damages for injuries which he alleges were sustained by him, in his person, by reason of an illegal and wrongful assault made by that company, acting by its servants and agents. The plea was not guilty. There was a verdict and judgment in favor of the plaintiff for $9,000. The judgment was affirmed in the supreme court of the territory, and has been brought here for review.

The defendant introduced no evidence, although its officers were the chief actors on the occasion when the plaintiff was injured. The case made by the latter, and other witnesses testifying in his behalf, is stated by the supreme court of the territory in the following extract from its opinion: 'The record discloses the fact that there was evidence on the trial in the lower court to the effect that about the tenth or twelfth of June, 1879, the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway Company was in peaceable possession, by its agents and employes, of a certain railroad in the state of Colorado, running from Alamosa to the city of Pueblo, in that state; that at or about that date, and while the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway Company were so in possession of said railroad, the plaintiff in error, the Denver & Rio Grande Railway Company, by an armed force of several hundred men, acting as its agents and employes, and under its vice-president and assistant general manager, attacked with deadly weapons the agents and employes of said Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway Company having charge of said railroad, and forcibly drove them from the same, and took forcible possession thereof; that there was a demonstration of armed men all along the line of the railroad seized, and while this was being done, and the seizure was being made, the defendant in error, who was an employe of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway Company, on said line of railroad, and while on the track of the road, and on a hand car thereon, in the line of his employment, was fired upon by men as he was passing, and seriously wounded and injured; that immediately upon the seizure of the railroad as aforesaid the plaintiff in error accepted it, and at once entered into possession thereof, and commenced and for a time continued to use and operate the same as its own.'

[Argument of Counsel from pages 599-604 intentionally omitted]

E. O. Wolcott, Chas. M. Da Costa, and C. A. Seward, for plaintiff in error.

John H. Knaebel, for defendant in error.

Mr. Justice HARLAN, after stating the facts of the case 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).