Saturday, December 28, 2013

Reid v. San Pedro, Los Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad case brief

Reid v. San Pedro, Los Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad case brief summary
118 P. 1009 (1911)

CASE SYNOPSIS
Appellant railroad company sought review of a judgment from the District Court, Third District (Utah), which was rendered in favor of respondent cattle owner on his negligence action that was filed against the railroad company for the recovery of damages for the killing of certain cattle.

CASE FACTS
The landowner's complaint alleged that the railroad company was negligent in maintaining a fence and in permitting a fence along its railroad to be open, and as a result, certain cattle were killed.

DISCUSSION

  • On appeal, the court affirmed with respect to three of the four causes of action because ample evidence supported the verdict that those particular cattle were killed where the railroad was unable to have a gate, but reversed with respect to one cause of action because the evidence indicated that the cow killed in that location could have entered the right of way from either a broken down fence or an open gate. 
  • Under Utah Comp. Laws §456 x 1 (1907), if the cow entered upon the right of way through an open gate, the railroad company could not be liable for the loss if there was no evidence of negligence on the part of a trainman at the time the cow was killed because it was the duty of the landowner to keep the gate closed. 
  • If the cow entered upon the right of way through the broken down fence, the railroad could have been liable. 
  • The court concluded that the verdict rendered on the first cause of action was not supported by the evidence.


CONCLUSION
The court affirmed the trial court's judgment on three causes of action, but reversed the judgment with respect to one cause of action and remanded to the trial court for further proceedings.


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