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Fuller v. Illinois Central R.R.

Mississippi Supreme Court
56 So. 783 (Miss. 1911)


Facts

Decedent, an elderly man, was riding his one-horse wagon near railroad tracks. As he approached the tracks, he did not stop or look for trains. He did not notice an oncoming train operated by Illinois Central R.R. (Railroad) (defendant). The train was a half an hour late, and was approaching at forty miles per hour. This was a speed faster than usual. The decedent was in plain view on the tracks when the train was approximately 660 feet away from him. Additionally, expert witnesses testified that the train could have been stopped within 200 feet at that speed. The train operator did not stop or slow down. The only signal he gave was a whistle blast approximately twenty seconds before the train crashed into the wagon. Decedent was killed instantly upon impact. Fuller (plaintiff) brought suit for negligence against the Railroad. The Railroad argued decedent was guilty of contributory negligence by failing to look out for the train. In response to this, Fuller argued the train operator had the last clear chance to avoid injury either by braking quickly or sounding an earlier warning whistle. The trial court held for the Railroad, and Fuller appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (McLain, J.)

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  • A "yes" or "no" answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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