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SCHNARS v. UNION RAILROAD COMPANY (04/16/63)

April 16, 1963

SCHNARS
v.
UNION RAILROAD COMPANY, APPELLANT.



Appeal, No. 132, March T., 1963, from judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Jan. T., 1957, No. 2872, in case of Allen N. Schnars v. Union Railroad Company, United States Steel Corporation, and Geraldine A. Smith. Judgment affirmed.

COUNSEL

Gilbert J. Helwig, with him Reed, Smith, Shaw & McClay, for appellant.

Leonard J. Paletta, with him McArdle, Harrington & McLaughlin, for appellee.

Before Bell, C.j., Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Eagen, O'brien and Roberts, JJ.

Author: Musmanno

[ 410 Pa. Page 539]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE MUSMANNO

At the entrance to the Carrie Furnace in the plant of the United States Steel Company, there is a small

[ 410 Pa. Page 540]

    tunnel which permits, beneath the tracks of the Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad, access to the plant. The tunnel, which is the property of the United States Steel Company, is only 66 feet long and about 25 feet wide, but large enough to house an automobile accident which occurred there on November 7, 1956. Allen N. Schnars, the plaintiff in this case, an employee of the Union Railroad Company, a subsidiary of United States Steel, was on his way to work that morning following the narrow walkway (about 4 1/2 feet wide), when an automobile driven by Geraldine Smith, a nurse employed by U.S. Steel, departed from the space intended for vehicular traffic and invaded the walkway, injuring Schnars' foot.

He brought a suit in trespass against his employer, the Union Railroad Company, the United States Steel Corporation as the employer of Geraldine Smith, on the basis of respondeat superior, and against Geraldine Smith in her own responsibility. A compulsory non-suit was entered as to the suit against the United States Steel Corporation since there was no evidence that Geraldine Smith was acting within the scope of her employment at the time of the mishap.

Of course, under current Pennsylvania law, an employee may not, except under extraordinary circumstances not present here, sue his employer. However, such an action is permissible under federal law because of the Federal Employers' Liability Act, 45 U.S.C.A. ยงยง 51-60, which places upon employers the duty of providing a safe place to work for their employees, this including safe ingress to and egress from that place of work.

The jury returned a verdict in favor of the plaintiff in the sum of $15,000, specifying, in answer to special interrogatories, that the Union Railroad Company was negligent, that Geraldine Smith was negligent ...


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