Torts II, Pages 506–508

Sheehan v. St. Paul & Duluth Ry. Co.

Circuit Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit, October 16, 1896

Facts:

Plaintiff was trespassing on defendant's railroad track when his foot slipped and got stuck in the track. He could not get it out and defendant's train came and ran over his foot. Defendant's train crew did not see plaintiff until it was too late to stop the train.

Procedural History:

Trial court directed a verdict for defendant, because the injury did not occur through any wrongful action by him.

Issue:

What is the duty which a railway company owes to a trespasser on its tracks, and how and when does the duty arise?

Reasoning:

A railroad company has a duty to constant and strict care against injury where it has notice that that people might be on the tracks there. A company has no notice of a trespasser, so the trespasser assumes all risks of the conditions which may be found there, including running trains.

Rule/Holding:

A railway company has a duty to make all reasonable effort to avert injury to people after it has received notice of a trespasser.

Judgment:

Affirmed.

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