Nathan Goodman was killed when a truck he was driving was struck by a train operated by Baltimore and Ohio R.R. (Baltimore) (defendant). Goodman slowed his truck down to five or six miles per hour as he approached the railroad tracks, but he did not hear a train coming. His view of any potential trains was blocked by a nearby building. Goodman continued onto the tracks and was struck by a train that was previously hidden from view. Goodman's widow (plaintiff) brought suit against Baltimore for her husband’s death. At trial, Baltimore argued that Goodman’s own negligence in failing to do all he could to look for oncoming trains caused his death. The trial court found for Goodman, and the court of appeals affirmed. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.