Monday, November 11, 2013

Titus v. Bradford, B. & K. R. Co. case brief

Titus v. Bradford, B. & K. R. Co. case brief summary
20 A. 517 (Pa. 1890)

Defendant employer appealed a judgment of the Court of Common Pleas of McKean County (Pennsylvania), which found in favor of plaintiff claimant, a deceased employee's mother, in the claimant's trespass action against the employer to recover damages for her son's death in the performance of his duty as a brakeman on the employer's freight train.


The employee was killed when a top-heavy train car overturned and crushed him. The claimant brought an action against the employer to recover damages for her son's death, claiming that the employer was negligent in allowing broad-gauge cars to be placed upon a narrow-gauge truck. The trial court found in favor of the claimant, and the employer sought review.


  • On appeal, the court reversed, holding that it failed to find any evidence of the employer's negligence. 
  • The court noted that the shifting of broad-gauge cars on to narrow-gauge trucks for transportation was a regular part of the business of narrow-gauge railroads, and the claimant made no attempt to show that the way in which it was done here was either dangerous or unusual. 
  • Moreover, even if the practice had been shown to be dangerous, the court emphasized that that would not show the practice to be negligent because some employments were essentially hazardous. 
  • The court held that in the absence of evidence tending to show that the loading of cars in the manner complained of was an unusual occurrence, the trial court should have directed a verdict for the employer.


The court reversed the trial court's judgment.

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