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RODGERS v. CONEMAUGH & BLACK LICK R.R. CO.

January 27, 1956

Manford L. RODGERS, Plaintiff,
v.
CONEMAUGH & BLACK LICK RAILROAD COMPANY, Defendant



The opinion of the court was delivered by: GOURLEY

This is an action under the Safety Appliance Act and/or Federal Employers' Liability Act to recover damages for injuries sustained while plaintiff was employed as a brakeman for the Conemaugh & Black Lick Railroad Company. 45 U.S.C.A. 51 et seq., 11, 53.

Upon jury trial, a verdict was returned in favor of plaintiff in the amount of $ 75,000.60.

 In answer to specific interrogatories, the jury found the total amount of damages to be $ 83,334 but attributed 10 per cent of the negligence which was a proximate cause of the accident to the plaintiff. *fn1"

 The matters before the court are two-fold:

 (1) Plaintiff's motion to reform the verdict in conformity with findings of the jury.

 (2) Defendant's motion for new trial.

 For purpose of brevity, the following abbreviations will be employed:

 Conemaugh Black Lick Railroad -- 'Railroad'

 Bethlehem Steel Company -- 'Industry'

 Plaintiff's Motion to Reform the Verdict.

 The evidence developed that plaintiff was assigned with a crew of defendant Railroad to place and remove ladle cars in Industry's furnace yards.

 Defendant Railroad was required by Industry to place empty ladles under a furnace and, when filled with slag, to remove the same and transport them for a short distance over Industry owned tracks and then over the defendant's main line for four or five miles to a dumping area.

 At about 3:30 p.m. on October 3, 1954, plaintiff attempted to board one of the ladle cars. In doing so he lost his balance and was unable to mount the platform of the car because the entire platform, to which was attached a sill step and a grab iron, was loose and flopping up and down. While trying to hang on and mount the platform, plaintiff was crushed between the car and a ventilator. It was established that it was common practice to mount these cars in the manner that ...


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