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TROXELL v. DELAWARE

decided: February 24, 1913.

TROXELL, ADMINISTRATRIX
v.
DELAWARE, LACKAWANNA & WESTERN RAILROAD COMPANY.



ERROR TO THE CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE THIRD CIRCUIT.

Author: Day

[ 227 U.S. Page 438]

 MR. JUSTICE DAY delivered the opinion of the court.

This case was brought in the Circuit Court of the United States for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania under the Federal Employers' Liability Act, as amended (35 Stat. 65, c. 149; 36 Stat. 291, c. 143) by Lizzie M. Troxell, administratrix of the estate of Joseph Daniel Troxell, deceased, against The Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad Company to recover for the alleged wrongful death of decedent. A verdict was rendered by the District Court, which had succeeded the Circuit Court, in favor of the plaintiff, and judgment entered accordingly, which, on writ of error, was reversed by the Circuit Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. 200 Fed. Rep. 44. The case was then brought here upon writ of error.

It appears from the record that the defendant railroad company operates a line of road running from Nazareth to Portland, Pennsylvania, and that a branch road, known as the Pen Argyl Branch, puts off in a northeasterly direction from Pen Argyl Junction, a point on the defendant's line. Between 100 and 150 yards northeast of Pen Argyl Junction there is a switch running off the Pen Argyl Branch, called Albion Siding No. 2, which extends to certain quarries in that vicinity. The switch track is level, or practically so, for the first 100 feet, and then rises towards the northeast with a grade of one foot in 100 feet. From the place where the Albion switch connects with the Pen Argyl Branch down to the main track and then westward on the main track there is a down grade. Six gondola cars, each about thirty-six feet in length, loaded with ashes, had been placed on the Albion spur by the

[ 227 U.S. Page 439]

     train crew of which Troxell was the fireman, he at that particular time acting as engineer, two days before the happening of the injury hereinafter described. The night before the injury the yard shifter and crew had moved the cars a considerable distance further on the spur from the junction of the siding with the branch and on the up grade. The next morning, at about half past seven o'clock, these cars were seen to be running rapidly down grade toward the point where the collision occurred. The decedent Troxell, then engaged as fireman in propelling a train eastwardly, consisting in part of interstate cars and freight, was at the time working on the tender of the engine, and when the runaway cars, going at great speed, collided with the locomotive he was buried under the wreck and killed.

Lizzie M. Troxell (now the administratrix of his estate) brought a previous action, suing as surviving widow and joining the two living children, against the defendant railroad company for damages, stating that at the time of the injury, July 21, 1909, the deceased was engaged in the capacity of fireman on a locomotive hauling one of the defendant's trains in interstate and foreign commerce and that while so engaged, without fault on his part and because of the negligence of defendant and its failure to supply and keep in good condition proper and safe devices, instruments and apparatus, the locomotive and train came into violent collision with several runaway cars, resulting in the death of Troxell, and she prayed damages on account of herself and the children. She recovered a verdict and judgment was rendered in her favor, which upon writ of error, was reversed by the Circuit Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. 183 Fed. Rep. 373.

Thereafter, having been appointed administratrix of the estate of her husband, Lizzie M. Troxell began the present action in the Circuit Court of the United States.

[ 227 U.S. Page 440]

     This action was specifically brought under the Federal Employers' Liability Act. The petition charged that the defendant was a common carrier engaged in interstate transportation; that Troxell, deceased, was a fireman, engaged in that capacity upon a locomotive and train engaged in carrying interstate and foreign commerce, and charged that because of the negligence, carelessness and oversight of the defendant, and its failure to supply and keep in good condition proper, necessary and safe devices, instruments and appliances, the locomotive and train came into violent collision with several loose and runaway cars, causing Troxell's death, and the plaintiff, administratrix as aforesaid, prayed damages, setting forth that she was the widow of the decedent and that there were two minor children of the parties. The case was tried to a jury, and again resulted in a verdict and judgment in the district court, successor to the Circuit Court, in favor of the administratrix. Upon writ of error the Circuit Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit reversed the judgment, holding that the first proceeding and judgment was a bar to a recovery in the second action.

Where the second suit is upon the same cause of action set up in the first suit, an estoppel by judgment arises in respect to every matter offered or received in evidence, or which might have been offered, to sustain or defeat the claim in controversy; but, where the second suit is upon a different claim or demand, the prior judgment operates as an estoppel only as to matters in issue or points controverted and actually determined in the original suit. Cromwell v. Sac County, 94 U.S. 351, 352, 353; Southern Pacific Railroad Co. v. United States, 168 U.S. 1, 50; Virginia-Carolina Chemical Co. v. Kirven, 215 U.S. 252, 257.

An inspection of the record shows that upon the trial of the first action the judge of the District Court held that the Employers' ...


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