Schulz v. Pennsylvania Railroad Company

RESPONDENT: Pennsylvania Railroad Company

DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1955-1956)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

ARGUED: Mar 27, 1956 / Mar 28, 1956
DECIDED: Apr 09, 1956

Facts of the case


Media for Schulz v. Pennsylvania Railroad Company

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - March 27, 1956 in Schulz v. Pennsylvania Railroad Company

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - March 28, 1956 in Schulz v. Pennsylvania Railroad Company

Earl Warren:

Number 282, Alma Schulz, Administratrix versus the Pennsylvania Railroad.

Mr. Allen, you may proceed.

Joseph P. Allen:

May it please the Court.

I would like to touch briefly on the testimony with respect to the allegation of insufficient help provided the decedent on the night in question.

The crew dispatcher upon receiving a telephone call from the decedent that the decedent would be late for work advised the decedent to come to work anyways since if he did not it would leave his trick or shift one-man short.

Another watch fireman testified that he recalled hearing some work -- hearing some word that the middle shift to which the decedent had been assigned was short.

He testified that the witness, Andre, who was to be watch fireman who relived the decedent testified that it was difficult for one man to take care of four boats to which the decedent admittedly had been assigned.

He didn't testify or indicate in any way that it would be more dangerous but he testified that it would be more difficult that he couldn't properly take care of the boats, and maintaining the fires, and maintaining the water in the boilers and doing the jobs which watch fireman were required to do.

Admittedly, the decedent, as far as the record is concerned, was the only man on this night assigned to watch four boats.

However, the witness, Barker, who in the decedent's absence had taken care of the decedent's boats, for that period of time, I think from about five o'clock, around five o'clock, was actually taken care of three of his own boats and the four boats to which the decedent had been assigned and the crew dispatcher testified that it was not unusual to assign a watch fireman to watch four boats.

But the question of whether or not there was sufficient help in -- in and of itself is no way connected or can be connected with the death of the decedent and I think that the case on this aspect is governed by the same principles as governed the case of Reynolds against Atlantic Coast Line.

In that case, the allegation also was that the decedent had not been supplied with sufficient help.

He was a freight brakeman on a moving train and his job was to cross between cars of a moving train to signal to the engineer at the time when a switching movement was to be -- was to be made.

It was -- it was testified -- it was -- or there was an allegation that the Reynolds case was disposed off on a demurrer made in the complaint, but the allegation was that because the respondent had not supplied the decedent with an additional brakeman, he had to make an additional crossing.

He had to make one more crossing between cars.

But the court of Alabama and it was sustained by this Court on a peculiar decision, stated that the fact that he had to make this additional crossing was no more hazardous than the work which he ordinarily performed.

And what for the intervention of some other force, it could not have caused his fall which was as in this case completely unexplained as to why or how he had fallen from the train and that resulted in -- an affirmance in this Court of a dismissal of the complaint.

Can I ask you a question?

Joseph P. Allen:

Yes, sir.


Joseph P. Allen:

No, sir, I do not.

First of all, as I -- there were three elements as I understand which the petitioner relies upon.

I think the evidence with respect to the condition of the -- of the ice on the barges is untenable for the simple reason that the weather report clearly established it was 40 degrees.

Nobody testified that they saw ice.

The only testimony with respect to the ice was that it was on the front bumping mat, a place in which the decedent could not possibly have been at any time.

With respect to the lights --

Earl Warren:

When the -- wasn't the temperature 40 degrees some hours before this?

Joseph P. Allen:

Yes, sir, it was 40 degrees.

It's -- it's at page 82 of the record.

The temperature was 40 degrees at 5 p.m. and then it steadily increased until later in the day -- next day which we're not concerned with -- it got, as I remember correctly, up to the middle 50.