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Christianson v. Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha Railway Co.
Minnesota Supreme Court
69 N.W. 640 (1896)
Alfred Christianson (plaintiff) was employed by Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha Railway Co. (the railway) (defendant) as a train operator. On the day in question, Christianson and two others were operating a car going eastbound. Another car was proceeding westbound from a different point. Prior to work, the operators of the westbound car had consumed several alcoholic drinks. The cars approached each other, and the westbound car signaled for Christianson’s eastbound car to go back. Christianson’s car heeded the signal and proceeded westbound. The other car, now in the rear, signaled for Christianson to go faster. However, the car driven by Christianson could not travel at great speed as well as the rear car could. Additionally, the rear car was incredibly close to Christianson’s car, and the rear car would not be able to stop in less than 100 feet. The rear car came within 60 feet of Christianson’s car. As Christianson looked back, he saw how close the other car was, and he lost his balance and fell off the car and onto the tracks. The rear car attempted to brake, but because of the car’s great speed and close distance to Christianson, the rear car ran over him, resulting in severe injuries. Christianson brought suit against the railway for negligence. The jury found for Christianson, and the railway appealed. On appeal, the railway conceded that the rear car was negligent, but it contended that such negligence was not the proximate cause of Christianson’s injuries.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Mitchell, J.)
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