U.S. Supreme Court
Coyne v. Union Pacific Railway Co., 133 U.S. 370 (1890)
Coyne v. Union Pacific Railway Company
Argued and submitted January 23-24, 1890
Decided March 3, 1890
133 U.S. 370
ERROR TO THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE UNITED
STATES FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLORADO
In this case, which was an action against a railroad company by one of its employees to recover damages for a personal injury, it was held that it was proper for the Circuit Court to direct the jury to find a verdict for the defendant.
The plaintiff was a laborer or construction hand under a construction boss or foreman of the defendant. He was injured by the fall of a steel rail which he and other laborers were trying to load from the ground upon a flatcar, and which struck the side of the car and fell back. The negligence alleged was that the foreman moved out the construction train to which the flatcar belonged in the face of an approaching regular freight train, to avoid which the laborers were hurrying to load the rails, and that he failed to give the customary word of command to lift the rail in concert, but, with the approaching freight train in sight, and with oaths and imprecations, ordered the men to get the rail on in any way they could, and they lifted it without concert. Held that whatever negligence there was was that of either the plaintiff himself or of his fellow servants who with him had hold of the rail.