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U.S. Supreme Court

Chicago, Kansas & Western R. Co. v. Pontius, 157 U.S. 209 (1895)

Chicago, Kansas & Western Railroad Company v. Pontius

No. 716.

Submitted March 4, 1895

Decided March 18, 1895

157 U.S. 209


A bridge carpenter employed by a railroad company who is injured through the negligence of employees of the company while assisting in unloading lumber, taken from an old bridge, on a car for transportation over the road is an employee of the company within the meaning of § 93, c. 23, of the General Statutes of Kansas which makes railroad companies in that state liable to its employees for damage done them through the negligence of its agents or the mismanagement of its employees.

Motion to dismiss or affirm.

Pontius brought an action against the railroad company in the District Court of Dickinson County, Kansas, to recover for injuries sustained by him while in the employment of the company, and obtained judgment for $2,000. The case was taken on error to the supreme court of the state, and the judgment affirmed, whereupon a writ of error was allowed from this Court, and, the cause having been docketed, a motion to dismiss the writ or affirm the judgment was submitted.

In the opinion of the Supreme Court of Kansas, reported 52 Kan. 264, the case is stated thus:

"Clifford R. Pontius was employed by the defendant company as a bridge carpenter, and worked in that capacity at various points on the line of defendant's road. A bridge was constructed across the Verdigris River in Greenwood County. The false work used for support in its construction was taken down, and the timbers of which it was composed were hoisted and loaded into cars on the bridge, to be transported to some other point on defendant's

Page 157 U. S. 210

road. The timbers were muddy and slippery. The mode of hoisting them was to attach a rope or chain to the timbers, and to raise them by means of a pile driver. When a stick was raised to a sufficient height, a rope was thrown around the lower end of it and a number of men, of whom plaintiff was one, would pull it out on the car. A chain had been used on the end of the rope to hold timbers which were being hoisted, and several pieces had been raised in that way. The chain, however, was thrown aside, and one piece was raised with the rope. When the men undertook to pull it back on the car, the rope slipped off, the timber fell, and caused the injury for which the plaintiff sues."

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