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PENNSYLVANIA RAILROAD COMPANY v. SUN OIL COMPANY. (01/04/56)

January 4, 1956

PENNSYLVANIA RAILROAD COMPANY, APPELLANT,
v.
SUN OIL COMPANY.



Appeal, No 180, Jan. T., 1955, from judgment of Court of Common Pleas No. 6 of Philadelphia County, Sept. T., 1952, No. 5141, in case of The Pennsylvania Railroad Company v. Sun Oil Company. Judgment affirmed.

COUNSEL

Theodore Voorhees, with him F. Hastings Griffin, Jr. and Barnes, Dechert, Price, Myers & Rhoads, for appellant.

Charles A. Wolfe, with him Sidney L. Wickenhaver, C. Brewster Rhoads and Montgomery, McCracken, Walker & Rhoads, for appellee.

Before Stern, C.j., Stearne, Jones, Bell, Musmanno and Arnold, JJ.

Author: Stearne

[ 383 Pa. Page 538]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE ALLEN M. STEARNE

This is a suit in assumpsit brought by The Pennsylvania Railroad Company against the Sun Oil Company to recover by way of restitution a sum which the Railroad paid in settlement to one of its employes who was injured in an accident.

The accident occurred in Sun's yards on tracks owned and controlled by it. The Railroad's employe,

[ 383 Pa. Page 539]

Healy, was the conductor of a freight crew engaged in spotting (i.e. placing) cars within the confines of Sun's yards. Sun's yardmaster directed what work was to be done. While "cutting" a car for spotting, Healy was crushed between a platform and the car. It was shown that this occurred because of the curvature of the tracks at the point of accident, which reduced the clearance between the car and platform to seven inches. Healy presented a claim for his injuries to the Railroad under the Federal Employers' Liability Act of 1908, as amended: 35 Stat. 65 (1908), 45 U.S.C.A. sec. 51 et seq., for its failure to provide him with a safe place to work. The Railroad called upon Sun to defend the claim, but Sun disclaimed any responsibility for the accident. The Railroad thereupon paid Healy $20,000 in settlement of his claim.

Trial was had before a jury. Counsel agreed that the jury was to answer four interrogatories. These interrogatories and the answers are as follows: "1. Was the accident caused by any negligent act or omission on the part of Sun Oil Co.? Answer: No. 2. Was the accident caused by any negligent act or omission on the part of the Pennsylvania Railroad Co.? Answer: No. 3, Was the injured party, Mr. Healy, negligent? Answer: Yes. 4. If Mr. Healy was negligent did his negligence contribute to the accident? Answer: Yes." The Railroad's motion for a new trial was refused. The judgment was then entered for Sun in accordance with the jury's findings. This appeal followed.

The trial judge charged the jury, and counsel for both parties are in agreement, that the Railroad was liable to Healy for failing to provide a safe place to work, and that the amount paid represented fair and reasonable compensation for the injuries sustained. See Terminal R. Ass'n of St. ...


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