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NEBRASKA CITY V. CAMPBELL, 67 U. S. 590 (1862)

U.S. Supreme Court

Nebraska City v. Campbell, 67 U.S. 2 Black 590 590 (1862)

Nebraska City v. Campbell

67 U.S. (2 Black) 590


1. Municipal Corporations upon which the duty is imposed to construct and repair, or to keep in repair streets and bridges, and upon which is also conferred the means of accomplishing such duty, are liable for any special damage arising from their neglect to perform it.

2. In an action for damages sustained by such neglect, evidence showing the business in which the plaintiff was engaged, its extent and the consequent loss arising to him from his inability to prosecute it, is relevant and pertinent, as enabling the jury to fix, with some certainty, the direct and necessary damages resulting from his injuries.

John T. Campbell brought his action against Nebraska City in the court of the Second Judicial District for Otoe County, and alleged in his petition that the defendant, being a municipal corporation, had, by its charter, the title and control of the streets, alleys, squares, wharves, and other highways and public grounds within its limits, and was bound to keep them in repair.

Page 67 U. S. 591

That the defendant was so bound to keep in repair a certain bridge on South Street, across Tabb Creek, but, contrary to its legal duty, left that bridge without side railing and in other respects unsafe and defective, by reason of which, the plaintiff, a physician, visiting his patients in a buggy, was thrown from the bridge and greatly injured, so as to prevent him for a long time from practicing his profession.

The city denied its legal liability for such damages under any circumstances, and averred that the plaintiff got his injuries by his own fault, for he was thrown over the bridge in consequence of the viciousness of his horse, which he was carelessly driving without a whip, and which had taken fright at a paper posted on the bridge by a third party.

The jury found a verdict in favor of the plaintiff for $3,000 damages, and after an unsuccessful motion by the defendant in arrest of judgment, the court gave judgment on the verdict. The cause was taken, by the petition of the defendant, to the supreme court of the territory, where the judgment was affirmed, and thence it came to this Court by writ of error sued out by the city.

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