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not got far enough along yet to back in? A. Oh, no, no; I stopped him.” On the cross-examination he testified: “Q. Well, you thought yourself that he had neglected to see your signal, didn't you? A. No; I did not. I pulled the emergency brake because I wanted to stop him. Q. Well, he would not stop you say until he got still further down? A. Well, because he figured on backing in, and I didn't know he was figuring on that. I first learned that he intended to back in when he told me. Q. You were in charge of the train, were you not? A. Yes, sir. Q. And you were the one to tell him where to stop, weren't you? A. No ; he had just as much to do as I did. I had charge of the train. Q. Now, as a matter of fact, Mr. Bolen, don't you know that you went down to Markey and criticised him for attempting to run by here in view of the ap
proaching train? A. I asked him— Q. Just answer my question. A. Yes, sir. I don't know where Mr. Richardson was. The day
before he rode with me on the tie train from Millersburg or Onaway down to Metz. Q. You deny having said you will be fired for this? A. Yes, sir. I never said that. I never said that.” Mr. Henry T. Thomas, sworn for defendant, testified: “Q. Did you employ Frederick Markey as engineer? A. I did. Q. And Douglass Larry as fireman? A. I did. Q. What have you to say as to the competency as an engineer of Frederick Markey? A. About what? Q. Competency, as to his ability, as to his competency? A. I considered him at that time fair. Q. What experience on April 12, 1907, had Markey, how long had he worked as engineer? A. I could not answer that question without looking up the record. Q. Do you pass upon the competency of engineers in the employment of your company? A. Largely. Q. Who, aside from yourself, has the employment of engineers and firemen? A. No one. Q. Prior to April 12, 1907, had any one informed you of any act on the part of Mr. Markey while running his engine with Mr. Larry that were not competent acts? A. I do not remember of one instance of anybody making any such report.” Cross-examination by Mr. Hall: “If any reports were made of the men, I have a record. I have not looked up the record to see what it is as to Mr. Markey. Q. So you don't know what is on that record, do you? A. If there was anything grievous in that record, I would remember it. My recollection is that there is nothing in the record bearing on its competency. Q. Have not you got on your record that he was laid off at one time because of the fact that he had caused a collision at Saginaw river bridge? A. It may be there. Q. It may be there? Well, was not he as a matter of fact laid off prior to this because of a collision of engine and cars at the Saginaw bridge? A. He may have been laid off. Q. Now, Mr. Thomas, if
in face of a train about due at Metz when he was running south, that he failed to observe a signal given and the emergency had been applied, or the appliance used for the emergency, and he was brought to a stop, then he was remonstrated with, as to what he intended to do, and he made no reply, and he was reprimanded by the one in charge of the train, would you regard that as evidence of incompetency? A. I think I testified in regard to my opinion as to his competency previous to that accident. * * * I did not produce the record of Mr. Markey because I have not been asked for it.” Mr. Allen, a witness for the plaintiff, testified in part as follows: “Relative to the choking down of the fire, I don’t see how this could be occasioned by the work of a competent engineer and fireman. Every employé is liable to make a mistake. If Larry was firing and permitted the fire to be choked by putting on too much coal, I should judge that it was his fault from inexperience. As soon as the engineer discovered it, I think it would be his duty to instruct the fireman what to do; but in the first instance it is the duty of the fireman to see the thing does not occur. In my long years of experience I have had firemen who committed that mistake while I was competent to run the engine. The fireman has one thing to do and the engineer has another. The duties of the engineer are to see that every part of the engine is in running order. The fireman is supposed to know how to fire and take care of his fire. The engineer cannot watch the fireman constantly. When an engineer is running his engine, it is his duty to watch out. His mind is directed ahead when he is running ahead for obstacles or anything that might be in his path. I would not regarrd an engineer incompetent whose fireman permitted twice within two days his fire to be choked or go out.” We have quoted every word of the testimony bearing upon the question of incompetency. In IRailway Company v. Guyton, 115 Ind. 450, 17 N. E. 101, 7 Am. St. Rep. 458, the following language is used in the opinion : “There was some testimony, however, from which the jury may have found that he was not possessed of sufficient familiarity with the time cards, and with the technical language of train orders, and was not sufficiently quick of apprehension to be able to construe and interpret an order in connection with a time card so as to be competent to act as the conductor of a wild train. In view of the fact that Stice had been promoted to the position of conductor but recently before the accident, and that Inore than ordinary vigilance and aptitude were required for the control and safe management of trains such as the one he was intrusted with, and in view of the further fact that there is some evidence which tends
of the general rules of the company, Stice had been assigned to duty as a conductor without the usual inquiry or examination in respect to his qualifications, we are constrained to hold that the evidence tends to support what must have been the conclusions of the jury, viz., that Stice was incompetent to act as conductor of a wild train, and that the railroad company was remiss in its duty in selecting him for that service. While the railroad company, in relation to the plaintiff, was not bound to guarantee the absolute fitness of the conductor, it was its duty nevertheless to exercise reasonable and Ordinary diligence, having respect for the exigencies of the particular service, to the end that it might ascertain the qualification and competency of the conductor, and whether or not he was fit to be intrusted with the responsible station to which he was assigned. Railway Co. v. McDaniels, 107 U. S. 454, 2 Sup. Ct. 932 [27 L. Ed. 605); Patters. Ry. Accident Laws, 313. In employing its subordinates it was the duty of the company to exercise a degree of care commensurate with the responsibilities of the position in which they were to be placed, and with the consequences which might ensue from incompetence or unskillfulness on the part of those employed. In case peculiar fitness was required, or special qualifications demanded for the service to be performed, unless it was assured by the previous like service of the conductor of his fitness, the duty of the company required it to institute affirmative inquiries in order to ascertain his qualification in that regard. In case an employé proves to be incompetent for the duty assigned him, and ordinary care has not been used in his selection, or if he is to be retained after notice of his incompetency, the employer will be liable to a coemployé, whose injury results proximately from the lack of qualification of the fellow servant, unless the person injured had notice of the incompetency, or had equal opportunities with the employer to obtain notice. Pennsylvania Co. v. Roney, 89 Ind. 453 [46 Am. Rep. 173]; Railway Co. v. Stupak, 108 Ind. 1, 8 N. E. 630; Railway Co. v. Ruby, 38 Ind. 294 [10 Am. Rep. 111]; Chapman v. Railway Co., 55 N. Y. 579; Mann v. President, etc., 91 N. Y. 495; Baulec v. Railroad Co., 59 N. Y. 356 [17 Am. Rep. 325].” In that case it was held that, because Mr. Stice had been a competent brakeman and fit for promotion, it did not follow that he was also competent to take charge of and run a wild train. In Baulec v. Railroad Co., 59 N. Y. 356, 17 Am. Rep. 325, it is said, in part: “The duty of a railroad corporation is to exercise due—that is, ordinary—care in the selection and employment of its servants and agents, having respect to their particular duties and responsibilities and the Consequences that may result from the want of competence, skill, or care in the perform
such care and caution employés and agents are selected who are incompetent, or in any respect unfitted for the position, and harm and loss come to others by reason of such incompetency or unfitness, the corporation must answer for their neglect and want of care in employing a servant incompetent or untrustworthy. * * * If it be conceded that the negligence of McGerty upon the prior occasion is established, it by no means follows that the defendant was bound to discharge him upon peril of being charged with neglect and a want of due care in retaining him in its service. An individual who by years of faithful service has shown himself trustworthy, vigilant, and competent is not disqualified for further employment, and proved either incompetent or careless and not trustworthy by a single mistake or act of forgetfulness and omission to exercise the highest degree of caution and presence of mind. The fact would only show what must be true of every human being, that the individual was capable of an act of negligence, forgetfulness, or error of judgment. This must be the case as to all employés of corporations until a race of servants can be found free from the defects and infirmities of humanity. A single act may under some circumstances show an individual to be an improper, unfit person for a position of trust, or any particular service, as when such act is intentional and done wantonly, regardless of consequences, or maliciously. So the manner in which a specific act is performed may conclusively show the utter incompetency of the actor, and his inability to perform a particular service. But a single act of casual neglect does not per se tend to prove the party to be careless and imprudent and unfitted for a position requiring care and prudence. Character is formed and qualities exhibited by a series of acts, and not by a single act. An engineer might from in attention omit to Sound the whistle or ring the bell at a road crossing, but such fact would not tend to prove him a careless and negligent servant of the company. The company is only charged with the duty of elmploying those who have acquired a good character in respect to the qualifications called for by the particular service, and no one would say that a good character acquired by long service was destroyed or seriously impaired by a single involuntary and unintentional fault. Murphy v. Pollock, 15 Irish C. L. 224. But this appeal does not necessarily depend upon the correctness of this view of the effect to be given to a single instance of neglect. All that the corporation defendant was bound to do, after the occurrence, was to inquire into it, and ascertain the facts, and act in the discharge or retention of the switchman with reference to the facts as ascertained, as reasonable prudence and care should dictate, and, if such is not liable, although its general agent erred in judgment in retaining the switchman in the same service. Ordinary care and a reasonable exercise of discretion and judgment is all that is necessary to absolve the corporation from the charge of neglect of duty in such a case. * * * The transaction upon which stress is laid, and by force of which it is now sought to charge the defendant with the consequences of the servant's neglect on this occasion, and the agency of the switchman in causing the accident on that occasion, was investigated immediately thereafter by the agent of the defendant whose general duties included such investigation, and who was authorized to employ and discharge switchmen at that point. He had the statement of the switchman himself, and in this record we have his Sworn Statement of the same transaction, and assuming, as we must, that the facts disclosed upon this trial were made known to the agent and representative of the defendant, then it was certainly a question of doubt whether the fault of that accident was upon the switchman or the engineer in charge of the train that was thrown from the track.” The court held that there was not sufficient evidence to carry the case to the jury. In Holland v. Southern Pacific Co., 100 Cal. 240, 34 Pac. 666, the following language is used: “It was shown upon the trial that some three or four months prior to the collision resulting in the injury complained of by the plaintiff, Mulligan was the engineer in charge of one of defendant's trains running between Marysville and Oroville, and upon that occasion ran a train between Marysville and Moore's station, a distance of 12 or 14 miles, in 40 minutes, while the schedule time between these points was one hour. The plaintiff himself testified that in making about 1% miles of this run, over a portion of the road which was level, the train was driven at a speed of about 40 or 45 miles an hour; and he further testified that this road was not considered safe to run fast upon, because it was laid with light iron rails. There was but one train a day run over this road, but hand cars used by construction men might have been upon the track at this time, and under the rules of defendant would have had the right to remain there until within 10
inutes of the schedule time for the arrival of the regular train. This run was made in daylight, and without accident or injury to any one. The plaintiff, although requested by Mulligan not to do so, notified the proper officers of defendant of the manner in which this train was run upon the occasion just referred to. * * * This was all the evidence tending in any degree to show the incompetency of Mulligan as an engineer prior to the collision in which plaintiff received his injuries. Counsel for plaintiff in the very able brief filed in this court argue
Mulligan knew, or ought to have known, that it was dangerous to run a train so fast upon this particular road, and that in so doing he not only endangered the lives of the passengers on the train, but also imperiled the lives of the Section or construction men who were on the road, and who had the right to remain there until within ten minutes of the time for the regular approach of the train, and that the jury were justified in finding from this single act of Mulligan that he was reckless and careless to such a degree as to render him wholly incompetent as an engineer, and that the defendant could not, with notice of the incompetency thus shown, retain him in its service as an engineer without rendering itself liable to those of its employés who might thereafter be injured through his negligence. But we do not think so. It may be and doubtless is true that a single act may be such as to furnish an unerring index of the character of the actor, and, when considered by itself or in connection with the circumstances surrounding it, be sufficient to demonstrate the unfitness of a person to be placed in any position requiring great or even ordinary care in the discharge of its duties. Still the act relied upon here was not of a character to necessarily stamp Mulligan as unfit or incompetent to discharge the duties of an engineer. It did not of itself show him to be a grossly careless person, or reckless of the lives, either of the passengers committed to his charge or the lives of the employés of defendants at work upon the track. No accident occurred at that time, nor is there anything in the evidence to show that this result was due more to chance or good fortune than to the management of the engine and the actual condition of the road upon which the train was running; and, although men were liable to have been working on the track, it does not appear that they could not have been easily seen, and would not have had ample time to escape all harm after being warned by bell or whistle of the approach of the train. Upon the facts disclosed by the evidence, the jury was not warranted" in finding that the defendant failed in its duty to plaintiff or its other employés in not discharging Mulligan from further service as an engineer because of this one act, assuming it to have been a negligent one. The true rule upon this subject is stated with great precision and clearness by Allen, J., in delivering the opinion of the Court of Appeals of the state of New York in the case of Baulec v. New York, etc., R. R. Co., 59 N. Y. 363, 17 Am. Rep. 325, as follows.” The court then quoted from the opinion in Baulec v. Railroad Company, and then proceeded: “And in Wharton on Negligence, § 238, it is said: “If single exceptional acts of negligence should prove an officer to be incompetent, no officer could be retained in
some time to some degree negligent.” Hence is has been properly held that intelligent men of good habits, who are engineers, or brakemen, or switchmen on railroads, are not necessarily to be discharged by their employers for the first error or act of negligence such employés commit, nor will railroad companies necessarily be liable for a second error or negligent act of a servant to all other servants of such companies, when the latter sustain damages by reason thereof.” In Bailey on Master's Liability, 48, it is said: “Liability on the part of an employer for an injury caused by the incompetency of a fellow servant depends upon its being established by affirmative proof that such incompetency was actually known by the master, or that, if he had exercised due and proper diligence, he would have learned that which would charge him in the law with such knowledge. When, however, it is not shown but that due care was exercised in the choice of a servant, no presumption of the latter's unfitness arises afterwards. The presumption is that, if competent and fit when he enters the service, he remains so. The master, in the exercise of his duty of supervision over the conduct of his servants, to ascertain whether they should be retained, must consider the nature of the service, as well as the dangers attending the employment or retention of unfit or incompetent persons. A closer supervision over the habits and conduct of an engineer is required than over a common laborer for the very plain and obvious reason that the dangerous consequences of neglect are likely to be so much greater in the one case than in the other. The greater the danger, the greater the care, is the rule. The presumption is that the master has exercised proper care in the selection of the servant. It is incumbent upon the party charging negligence in this respect to show it by proper evidence. This may be done by showing specific acts of incompetency, and bringing them home to the knowledge of the master or company; or by showing them to be of such nature, character, and frequency that the master, in the exercise of due care, must have had them brought to his notice. But such specific acts of alleged incompetency cannot be shown to prove that the servant was negligent in doing or omitting to do the act complained of. So it is proper, when repeated acts of carelessness and incompetency of a certain character are shown on the part of the servant, to leave it to the jury to determine whether they did come to the knowledge of the master, or would have come to his knowledge if he had exercised ordinary care. In such case the presumption that the master had discharged his duty may be overcome to such an extent as to call upon him to rebut the proof made showing his negligence.” In a note on page 64, Id., the following is said:
careful servant, he has a right to rely upon the presumption that he will continue careful and skillful, and, when notified that he has become careless, he is not ordinarily bound to discharge such servant without an investigation into such charge, unless such notice is accompanied by such evidence as leaves no reasonable doubt of the truth of such charge. A rule that would require the master to discharge a servant, careful and competent when employed, without investigation, upon a charge of carelessness, would be a harsh one, and would often result in great injustice to employés. Lake Shore & M. S. Ry. Co. v. Stupak, 123 Ind. 210, 23 N. E. 246; Ohio & M. R. Co. v. Collarn, 73 Ind. 261 [38 Am. Rep. 134]; Lake Shore & M. S. Ry. Co. v. Stupak, 108 Ind. 1, 8 N. E. 630; Indiana B. & W. Ry. Co. v. Dailey, 110 Ind. 75, 10 N. E. 631; Chapman v. Railway Co., 55 N. Y. 579; Moss v. Railway Co., 49 Mo. 167 [8 Am. Rep. 126); Blake v. Railway Co., 70 Me. 60 [35 Am. Rep. 297]; McDowell v. Railway Co. (Ky.) 5 S. W. 413; La Rose v. Bank, 102 Ind. 332, 1 N. E. 805.” At page 67, Id., the text says: “When the injured servant knew of the incompetency of the offending servant as well as the master, or had equal knowledge, and, notwithstanding such knowledge continued in the employment without objection, he waives the negligence of the master in this respect.” The note is as follows: “Laning v. Railway Co., 49 N. Y. 525 [10 Am. Rep. 417]; Wright v. Railway Co., 25 N. Y. 566; Mad River & L. E. R. Co. v. Barber, 5 Ohio St. 563 [67 Am. Dec. 312]. One of the rules of the common law still in force is as follows: “If an employé knows that another employé is incompetent or habitually negligent, or the materials with which he works are defective, and he continues his work without objection, and without being induced by his employer to believe that a change will be made, he will be deemed to have assumed the risk of such incompetency, negligence, or defects, and cannot recover for an injury resulting therefrom. Kansas Pac. Ry. Co. v. Peavey, 34 Kan. 472, S Pac. 780; Kroy v. Railway Co., 32 Iowa, 357; Laning v. Railway Co., 49 N. Y. 521 [10 Am. Rep. 417] ; McQueen v. Railway Co., 30 Kan. 689, 1 Pac. 139; Jackson v. Railway Co., 31 Kan. 761, 3 Pac. 501; Assop v. Yates, 2 Hurl. & N. 768; Hayden v. Smithville Mfg. Co., 29 Conn. 548; Mad River & L. E. R. Co. v. Barber, 5 Ohio St. 541 [67 Am. Dec. 312]; United States Rolling-Stock Co. v. Wilder, 116 Ill. 100, 5 N. E. 92; Hatt v. Nay, 144 Mass. 1S6, 10 N. E. 807; Lake Shore & M. S. Ry. Co. v. Knittal, 33 Ohio St. 468. In United States Rolling-Stock Co. v. Wilder, 116 Ill. 109, 5 N. E. 92, the duty of the servant was thus aptly expressed : “All that the law demands of one thus employed is that he keep his eyes open to what is passing before him, and receive with respect to the habits and characteristics of his fellow servants; and if from either of these sources of information he finds one of them, from incompetency or other cause, renders his own position extrahazardous, it is his duty to notify the master, and, if the latter refuses to discharge the incompetent or otherwise unfit fellow servant, the complaining servant will have no other alternative but to quit the master's employ. If he does not, he will be deemed to have assumed the extra hazard of his Dosition thus occasioned. The case suggested, it will be perceived, is one of mutual negligence. On the part of the master it is negligence to retain the incompetent servant in his employ. It is, on the other hand, negligence in the complaining servant to continue longer in the master's service, unless he intends to run the extra hazard himself.” See, also, La Batt on Master and Servant, pp. 397, 423, 424; Railroad Company v. Dolan, 32 Mich. 510.
If we apply these principles of law to the case in hand, it is not difficult to reach a result. The defendant employed an engineer shown to be fairly competent. He continued in their employ for a year, presumably becoming more competent. It is sought to show him incompetent by proving that the plaintiff upon one occasion overloaded his fire with coal and upon another occasion failed to shake down the fire when he ought. This may have established the fact that plaintiff was an inexperienced fireman, but falls far short of showing such a degree of incompetency upon the part of the engineer as to make it the duty to discharge him.
As to what occurred at Metz : There is no great conflict between Mr. Bolen and the plaintiff as to what occurred so far as they testify. It is doubtless true that, when Mr. Bolen stopped the train, he supposed the engineer was running past the station at Metz, and was likely to meet the north-bound train; but when he saw the engineer and talked with him, and saw the two cars at the north end of the siding, he was satisfied. The incident, when fully related, instead of showing that the engineer was incompetent, showed just the reverse; that he was quick to observe and to comprehend that he could not go into the siding from the north end because of the loaded cars, but must go in as he did go in, even according to the testimony of the plaintiff, by backing in from the south. We think the judge might very properly have instructed the jury that plaintiff had failed to show such incompetency of the engineer as to make it the duty of the defendant to discharge him. Having reached this conclusion, it is not necessary to pass upon the other questions.
Judgment is reversed, and new trial ordered.
POWELL v. BEEBE. (Supreme Court of Michigan. Nov. 3, 1911.)
1. WILLS (§ 487*)—SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE —INTENTION OF TESTATOR. Evidence outside of the will held not to show an intention by testator to give son L. the homestead 40 acres. [Ed. Note:–For other cases, see Wills, Dec. Dig. § 487.*] 2. WILLs ($ 443*) – Construction — TESTATOR'S INTENT. A general intent by testator, indicated in the will, as to his provisions for his sons. should be followed, if the will, reasonably construed, conforms to such intent. [Ed. Note.—For other cases, see Wills, Cent. Dig. § 960; Dec. Dig. § 443.”] . 3. WILLs ($ 561*)—CoNSTRUCTION.—PROPERTY DEVISED. A testator owning the S. E. and S. W. 14, and the S. 1% of the N. W. 14, all of the S. E. 14 of section 21, and also a like quantity in section 22, devised all his realty to his wife for life, and gave to his son L., after her death, “the south part of the west half of the southeast quarter of section No. 21; also the west and the north part of the southeast quarter of section No. 21; also the west half of the northwest quarter of southeast quarter in section No. 22,” and to his son H. the W. 14, of the N. E. 54 of section 22, and provided that, at his death, it should be equally divided among his children, if any, and, if none, should descend to testator's heirs. L. was a helpless cripple, who lived with his mother until his death, and H., who was three years younger than L., was mentally incompetent, and one of his children was also incompetent. Held, that the remainder over after the life estate in the S. E. 14 of the S. E. 14 of section 21 was not doiso to son L., testator dying intestate as to that property. [Ed. Note.—For other cases, see Wills, Dec. Dig. § 561.*] 4. WILLs (§ 448*)—PRESUMPTIon AGAINST INTESTACY. While it is presumed that testator did not intend to die intestate as to any of his estate, and a will susceptible of two constructions will be construed in favor of testacy, such construction must be reasonable and consistent with the general scope of the will and a fair construction of its provisions. [Ed. Note.—For other cases, see Wills, Cent.
Appeal from Circuit Court, Cass County, in Chancery; L. Burget Des Voignes, Judge.
Action by Gardner Powell, administrator, against Hamaline Beebe. From a decree for complainant, defendant appeals. Reversed, and decree entered.
Argued before OSTRANDER, C. J., and BIRD, MOORE, McALWAY, BROOKE, BLAIR, STONE, and STEERE, J.J.
D. O. French, for appellant. Clarence M. Lyle and M. L. Howell, for appellee.
McALWAY, J. A bill was filed for the construction of the will of Abel Beebe, executed July 31, 1871. He died May 6, 1881, leaving surviving him a widow, Mary Beebe, and three adult children, Lafayette, Hamaline, and Sarah Ann. At the time of the execu