Friday, December 27, 2013

Arkansas Midland Railway v. Canman case brief

Arkansas Midland Railway v. Canman case brief summary
52 Ark. 517 (1890)

Defendant tortfeasor sought review of an order from the Phillips Circuit Court (Arkansas), which granted judgment to plaintiff injured party in the injured party's negligence action to recover for personal injuries.

The injured party was traveling as a passenger on a train operated by the tortfeasor when the coach car he was riding in derailed and flipped on its side. The tortfeasor objected to certain instructions given by the judge and contended that its requested instructions were improperly refused.


  • On appeal, the court affirmed, holding that the jury instructions relating to the burden of proof when construed in connection with the other instructions given contained no error. 
  • The tortfeasor was not required to introduce evidence sufficient to convince the jury beyond a reasonable doubt that it had not been negligent. 
  • The jury instruction relating to negligence was erroneous because it assumed that any spread or bend in a rail was negligence without regard to whether it actually caused the derailment. 
  • Although the tortfeasor was bound to use the most exact care and diligence in the management of its trains and in the structure and care of its track, this did not mean that the tortfeasor had to exercise all conceivable care and diligence or render the railway free from all possible peril. 
  • The tortfeasor was not required to run separate passenger trains.

The court reversed the decision of the circuit court.

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