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Dice v. Akron, Canton & Youngstown Railroad Co.

United States Supreme Court
342 U.S. 359 (1952)


Facts

Dice (plaintiff) was a railroad fireman employed by the Akron, Canton & Youngstown Railroad (Railroad) (defendant) who was injured while working. As a result of his injuries, Dice brought suit against the Railroad under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act in Ohio state court. The Railroad argued that Dice signed a release of all claims against the railroad in exchange for $924.63. Dice claimed he was told by the Railroad that the document he signed was a receipt for back pay. The jury found for Dice, though the trial judge found for the Railroad in a judgment notwithstanding the verdict. Dice appealed to the Ohio Court of Appeals for Summit County, which reversed the trial judge’s decision, holding that federal law controlled the case and it did not permit the trial judge to overrule the jury’s verdict. The Railroad appealed to the Ohio Supreme Court, which reversed the Court of Appeals, holding that Ohio law controlled the case. The court held that Ohio law held Dice responsible for what he signed as long as he was capable of reading it and that this question of fact was one for the judge alone to decide. Dice appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Black, J.)

Concurrence (Frankfurter, J.)

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