Herman Brauer (plaintiff) drove his employer’s horse-drawn wagon, carrying empty barrels and a keg of cider, across a railroad crossing. The negligence of the N.Y. Central & H.R.R. Co. (railroad) (defendant) caused a train to hit Brauer’s wagon. The collision destroyed the wagon, killed Brauer's horse, and scattered the barrels and keg on the ground. Brauer himself was injured and couldn’t prevent passersby from stealing his cargo. Two railroad detectives on the train, aboard to prevent theft, did nothing to protect Brauer’s cargo. Brauer sued the railroad. The jury found the railroad negligent and awarded Brauer the value of the stolen items. The railroad appealed.
[Editor's Note: In one reported version of this case, the plaintiff's name is spelled as Brower.]