Gallick v. Baltimore & Ohio R. Company

RESPONDENT: Baltimore & Ohio R. Company
LOCATION: Beaumont Mills

DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1962-1965)
LOWER COURT: State appellate court

CITATION: 372 US 108 (1963)
ARGUED: Dec 10, 1962
DECIDED: Feb 18, 1963

Facts of the case


Media for Gallick v. Baltimore & Ohio R. Company

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - December 10, 1962 in Gallick v. Baltimore & Ohio R. Company

Earl Warren:

Mr. Nurenberg.

Marshall I. Nurenberg:

Mr. Chief Justice, may it please the Court.

First of all, I would like to say at the outset that Senior Counsel on this case for the petitioner, Mr. A.H. Dudnik very much wanted to address the Court but unfortunately is confined to a hospital in Cleveland having underwent major surgery but I'm going to do my best to substitute as associate counsel on the case.

Now, this case is before this Court on certiorari to the Court of Appeals of Cuyahoga County, Ohio.

It is an action brought under the Federal Employers' Liability Act, Section 51 through 60 as amended.

The case was tried to a jury in the state court of general jurisdiction namely the Court of Common Pleas of Cuyahoga County.

It was tried upon a special verdict statute of the legislature of the State of Ohio which actually had only been amended approximately a year before this case was tried.

Now, I would like if I may before getting in to what I concede to be the real issue in this case to briefly discuss what the jury did find under the special verdict statute and what the Court of Appeals agreed that the evidence did support so that I can then go into what I consider the prime question in this case and that is what we claimed to be the fundamental error of the Court of Appeals in holding that despite the fact that the jury in the case found a causal relationship between the negligence which the jury found and the injuries to the petitioner which the jury found that such finding of causal relationship said the Court of Appeals or reasons which I will get in to in just a moment is not supported by the evidence, but would require the jury to indulge in speculation and conjecture and therefore the Court of Common Pleas instead of submitting the case to the jury in the first place should have directed a verdict for the respondent.

And therefore the Court of Appeals upon a statute of the State of Ohio entered that judgment which it said the Court of Common Pleas should've entered for the respondent namely a final judgment for the respondent.

And the court of -- the Supreme Court of Ohio refused to review the case under appropriate statutes and constitutional provisions of the State of Ohio thereby making that judgment final and permitting us to perfect our petition for a writ to this Court.

William J. Brennan, Jr.:

What was the appeal to the intermediate state court?

Was it from the denial of a motion to direct the verdict for -- from the judgment or was that --

Marshall I. Nurenberg:

It was -- actually, there were 16 grounds of error asserted by the respondent to the Court of Appeals which included among others the refusal of the Court of Common Pleas to grant its motion for a directed verdict.

The refusal of the Court of Common Pleas to enter judgment for the respondent railroad on the verdict of the jury being a special verdict which the respondent claimed entitled him the judgment and upon the refusal of a Court of Common Pleas to grant a new trial to the respondent for what it claimed for certain errors and trial procedure.

The other assignments are very basically are encompass within those.

William J. Brennan, Jr.:

Well, now the Court of Appeals turned it down which of those grounds?

Marshall I. Nurenberg:

Only on -- and this is very important, only on the single ground that the Court of Common Pleas erred in not directing a verdict for respondent.

This -- and I want to emphasize, this is terribly important.

This is not one of those cases where the court below having decided the case on one ground which would be sufficient to what to -- adjudge the case, found it unnecessary to consider other points of error.

The Court of Appeals in both its opinion and in its general entry went out of its way to say that it considered each and every amount of error which was asserted by the respondent.

And the only one of those grounds of error said the Court of Appeals which we find prejudicial to the rights of respondent is the refusal of the court of -- what the refusal in the Court of Common Pleas to direct the verdict.

William J. Brennan, Jr.:

Well, that's to say then that if you prevail there are no open questions to be decided --

Marshall I. Nurenberg:

Precisely --

William J. Brennan, Jr.:

-- to bring your --

Marshall I. Nurenberg:

That is precisely our position Mr. Justice.

Byron R. White:

But if you -- you don't prevail at the --

Marshall I. Nurenberg:

If we don't prevail, we (Inaudible).

It's in the plain language.

In other words, there's a final judgment against us and if this Court does not see our point of view and reverse the judgment and reinstate the judgment which the Court of Common Pleas entered for the petitioner then of course the petitioner is completely exhausted all possible remedies and there'll be a final judgment before the requirement.