« PrejšnjaNaprej »
the track scale box nor the dangers thereof were hidden or latent, and plaintiff was presumed to know the danger and assumed the risks thereof.
“c. Because the uncontroverted testimony established the fact that plaintiff knew of the location of the track scale box, and location of said track No. 2, with reference to said track scale box, on which track he was riding at the time he was hurt, and that the track scale box, and the dangers of the same, were open and obvious to the view of plaintiff, and not hidden or latent, and plaintiff was presumed to know the danger and assumed the risk."
The motion was properly overruled. So far from it being the fact, as asserted, that the evidence established indisputably the existence of the grounds upon which the motion was based, the record shows that there was evidence tending to establish that the track scale box was not erected in a reasonably safe place, and that, although the plaintiff knew that the scale box was situated adjacent to track No. 2, he did not know that it was so near that it could not be passed, in the performance of his duties as a switchman, without danger. This is apparent when it is borne in mind that the plaintiff testified, in substance, that prior to the accident he had not closely inspected the scale box or taken measurements of the distance from the box to the north rail of track No. 2, and that he did not do more than cursorily observe the structure from a distance, and that he wa unaware of the nearness of the scale box to the north rail of track No. 2.
Prima facie, the location of scales where the tracks were only the standard distance apart, and where a space of less than two feet was left for the movements of a switchman between the side of a freight car and the scale box, encumbered,
a as he would be in the night time, with a lantern employed for the purpose of signalling, did not incontestably establish the performance by the defendant company of the duty imposed upon it to use due care to provide a reasonably safe place for the use of the switchmen in its employ. And so far from the
proof making it certain that the necessity of the situation required the erection of the structure between tracks Nos. 1 and 2 as existing, there was proof that the railway company owned unoccupied ground, intended for other tracks, to the south of track No. 4, justifying the inference that the distance between tracks Nos. 1 and 2 might have been increased, and the employment of the scales thus rendered less hazardous to switchmen, or that the scales might have been removed to a safer location.
It was, therefore, properly a question for the determination of the jury whether or not the scales were maintained in a reasonably safe place, and if not, whether the plaintiff had notice thereof. The Court of Appeals was of opinion, and rightly we think, that the dangerous contiguity of the scale box to track No. 2, and the extra hazard to switchmen resulting therefrom, was not so open and obvious on other than a close inspection, as to justify taking from the jury the determination of the question whether there had been an assumption of the risk. The plaintiff was entitled to assume that the defendant company had used due care to provide a reasonably safe place for the doing by him of the work for which he had been employed, and as the fact that the defendant company might not have performed such duty in respect to the scale box in question was not so patent as to be readily observable, the court could not declare, in view of the testimony of the plaintiff as to his actual want of knowledge of the danger, that he had assumed the hazard incident to the actual situation. Choctaw, 0. & G. R. R. v. McDade, 191 U. S. 64, 68.
The remaining assignment of error questions the correctness of the following portion of the charge to the jury:
“The defendant claims that the plaintiff knew of the existence and location of the scale box with which he came in contact, and that by continuing in the work, with such knowledge, he assumed all risks incident to and arising out of his employment. Upon this point you are instructed that if you believe
from the testimony that prior to the plaintiff's injuries he knew of the existence and location of the scale box, and of the danger incident to the discharge of his duties while passing the same on a moving train, if danger there was; or, if knowing of the location of the structure, the danger to the employés while in the usual discharge of their duties was apparent, that is open to observation, then you are instructed that the plaintiff, by continuing in the employment of the defendant without complaint, assumed such risks, and he would not, therefore, be entitled to recover. In this connection you are further instructed that the mere fact that the plaintiff knew of the existence and location of the scale box would not, as a matter of law, charge him with knowledge of the danger, if such danger there was, due to its proximity to the north rail of track No. 2, and whether he knew of the danger is a question of fact for you to determine from a consideration of all the facts and circumstances in evidence."
The grounds of the objection to the charge being thus stated:
"Because the proof showed that plaintiff knew of the location of the track scale box, and of track No. 2, on which he was riding at the time he was hurt, in reference to a scale box, and that the same and the location thereof was open and obvious to plaintiff's view, and being an experienced brakeman, he was charged with notice that riding on the cars as he did was dangerous, and he assumed the risks thereof, and the court should have so charged the jury.”
This assignment but reiterates contentions made in connection with the assignment based on the alleged error in overruling the motion for judgment. As we have already decided that knowledge of the increased hazard resulting from the dangerous proximity of the scale box to the north rail of track No. 2 could not be imputed to the plaintiff simply because he was aware of the existence and general location of the scale box, it was for the jury to determine, from a consideration of all the facts and circumstances in evidence, whether plaintiff had actual knowledge of the danger.
We find no error in the judgment of the Circuit Court of Appeals, and it is
LEE v. ROBINSON.
ERROR TO THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE UNITED STATES FOR THE
DISTRICT OF SOUTH CAROLINA.
No. 8. Argued December 6, 7, 1904.-Decided December 19, 1904.
Article IX, $ 10, of the constitution of South Carolina of 1868, forbidding,
except as specially authorized in the constitution, the issue of scrip or other evidence of state indebtedness except for the redemption of existing indebtedness of the State, forbade the issue of scrip under an act passed in 1872 to take up the State's guaranty of railroad bonds under an act passed in 1868 subsequent to the ratification of the constitution, notwithstanding that acts had been passed in 1852 and 1854 authorizing such guaranty, it appearing that the guaranty had not actually been endorsed on the bonds prior to the ratification of the constitution and that the act of 1868 was not an adjustment of an old debt but the granting of new aid to the railroad and the authorizing of an original issue of bonds.
The facts are stated in the opinion.
Mr. William H. Lyles for plaintiff in error.
Mr. D. W. Robinson for defendant in error.
Mr. William Elliott, Jr., by leave of the court, filed a brief as amicus curiæ.
MR. JUSTICE HOLMES delivered the opinion of the court.
This is an action to recover land, brought by Robinson, the defendant in error, a citizen and resident of North Carolina, against Lee, a citizen and resident of South Carolina, on the ground that Robinson had purchased the land at a tax sale.
The value of the land is alleged and found to be more than $2,000. The defense is that a tender was made of the amount of the taxes before the sale. This tender included, as a part of it, revenue bond scrip of the State of South Carolina for five dollars, purporting on its face to be receivable in payment of taxes, and the question is whether the tender was good, or, more precisely, whether the bond scrip was receivable for taxes under the Constitution of the United States and the constitution and laws of South Carolina. The Circuit Court held the tender bad, on the double ground that the issue of the scrip was in contravention of the constitution of the State and that the scrip was a bill of credit within the prohibition of Article 1, Section 10, of the Constitution of the United States. 122 Fed. Rep. 1012. Judgment was given for the plaintiff, Robinson, and this writ of error was brought, setting up that the contract rights of the defendant under the Constitution of the United States were impaired by the laws hereafter mentioned which excluded the reception of the scrip for the tax.
Counsel other than those representing the parties was permitted to file a brief as amicus curiæ, and urged that this was a collusive suit. But the Circuit Court held that it was not, 122 Fed. Rep. 1010, and we accept the finding for the purposes of disposing of the case.
The revenue bond scrip was issued under an act of March 2, 1872, entitled “An act to relieve the State of South Carolina of all liability for its guaranty of the bonds of the Blue Ridge Railroad Company, by providing for the securing and destruction of the same.” This act purported to authorize the issue to the amount of $1,800,000," which revenue bond scrip shall be signed by the state treasurer, and shall express that the sum mentioned therein is due by the State of South Carolina to the bearer thereof, and that the same will be received in payment of taxes and all other dues to the State, except special tax levied to pay interest on the public debt.” But the Supreme Court of the State held that the scrip constituted bills of credit within the prohibition of the Constitution of the