Friday, December 27, 2013

Freed v. Erie Lackawanna Railway Co. case brief

Freed v. Erie Lackawanna Railway Co. case brief summary
445 F.2d 619 (1971)

CASE SYNOPSIS
Plaintiff worker appealed a decision from a federal district court that granted judgment in favor of defendant railroad company in plaintiff's action initiated under the Federal Employers' Liability Act.

CASE FACTS
Defendant railroad company employed plaintiff worker. While plaintiff was walking down a right-of-way adjacent to a side track, he was struck by a caboose. Plaintiff suffered injuries and initiated an action against defendant under the Federal Employers' Liability Act. During trial, defendant claimed that the caboose that struck plaintiff was within the yard limits. As such, a lookout was not required to be posted on the caboose. The district court granted judgment for defendant. Plaintiff contended that defendant's response to an interrogatory contradicted the position of the caboose. In defendant's responses to plaintiff's interrogatories, defendant claimed that the caboose was not within the yard limits.

DISCUSSION

  • On appeal, the court affirmed the decision. 
  • The court reasoned that answers to interrogatories were comparable to testimonies given during the course of a trial. 
  • When there was a conflict between interrogatory answers and testimonies, it was within the jury's discretion to resolve such conflicts. 
  • Answers to interrogatories, when introduced in evidence, could be utilized as admissions, but such admissions were not binding.

CONCLUSION
The court affirmed the judgment entered in favor of defendant railroad company in plaintiff worker's action initiated under the Federal Employers' Liability Act. It was within the jury's discretion to resolve the conflict between defendant's response to an interrogatory propounded by plaintiff and evidence presented at trial by defendant.

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