Angell Grimstad (deceased) was employed as a captain on a barge owned by New York Central R.R. (railroad) (defendant). Elfrieda Grimstad (plaintiff), the wife of the deceased, was on board her husband’s ship when an accident occurred which caused his death by drowning. A tug boat hit the ship, and the resulting shock knocked the deceased into the water. He did not know how to swim. Grimstad ran inside the boat’s cabin to grab a line to throw to him, but when she returned, he had disappeared. Grimstad brought suit against the railroad on the ground that it negligently failed to equip the barge with life-preservers and thus caused her husband’s death. At trial, the jury found the railroad was negligent and the trial court denied the railroad’s motion to dismiss the case. The railroad appealed.