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New Orleans & Northeastern R. Co. v. Harris, 247 U.S. 367 (1918)

New Orleans & Northeastern Railroad Company v. Harris

No. 276

Argued April 30, 1918

Decided June 3, 1918

247 U.S. 367


In actions against a railroad for injuries to employees resulting from its negligence, it has long been the rule of the federal courts that the negligence is to be established affirmatively by the plaintiff.

In proceedings brought under the Federal Employers' Liability Act, rights and obligations depend upon it and applicable principles of common law as interpreted and applied by the federal courts, and negligence is essential to recovery.

Hence it is erroneous in such a proceeding to apply a state statute (Mississippi Code, 1906, 1985, and Laws 1912, c. 215, p. 2911),

Page 247 U. S. 368

making proof of injury by an engine propelled by steam prima facie evidence of a railroad's negligence in an action against it for damages.

Under the federal act, there is no cause of action for pain and suffering if the employee die of his injuries without regaining consciousness.

Under that act, no cause of action accrues for the benefit of a dependent mother where the deceased employee leaves a widow who, although she lived apart from him at the time of his death, was neither remarried nor divorced, and where the rights and liabilities consequent upon their marriage had not ceased under the local law.


The case is stated in the opinion.

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