Freed v. Erie Lackawanna Railway Co.
United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
445 F.2d 619 (1971)
Floyd Freed (plaintiff), a brakeman for the Erie Lackawanna Railway Co. (Erie) (defendant), sustained injuries when he was hit by a train in the course of his employment. There was no lookout on the lead car of the train at the time of the accident. Freed sued Erie under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act. In response to one of Freed’s interrogatories, Erie stated that the train was outside the yard limits at the time of the accident. However, at trial, Erie testified that the train was operating within the yard limits at the time of the accident. If the train was not within the yard limits at the time of the accident, it was in violation of road rule Number 103, which requires that a lookout be posted on the lead car of trains operating outside the yard limits. At trial, the jury asked the court if the train was within the yard limits at the time of the accident, but the court declined to answer. The jury subsequently returned a verdict in favor of Erie. Freed appealed on the grounds that Erie’s answer to the interrogatory was binding, and therefore the court should have answered the jury’s question in accordance with the answer given in the interrogatory.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Brooks, J.)