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Nuttall v. Reading Company

235 F.2d 546 (1956)

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Nuttall v. Reading Company

United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit

235 F.2d 546 (1956)

Facts

Florence Nuttall (plaintiff) brought an action as executrix of her husband, Clarence’s estate, against Clarence’s employer, Reading Co. (Reading) (defendant). Florence claimed that Reading violated the Federal Employers’ Liability Act by forcing Clarence to go to work even though Clarence was ill and unfit to work. Florence initially received a verdict in her favor of $30,000, but the district court ordered a new trial. At the second trial, the court excluded as hearsay: (1) affidavits by two of Clarence’s co-workers, Fireman John O’Hara and Conductor James Snyder, describing Clarence’s apparent ill health, (2) Florence’s own testimony about a phone conversation Clarence had with his superior, and (3) O’Hara’s testimony about comments Clarence made to O’Hara in the train yard. Florence’s testimony indicated that Clarence told his superior that he was ill and unable to work, that Clarence asked his superior why he was “forcing” Clarence to come to work, that Clarence responded, “I guess I will have to come out then,” and that after hanging up the phone, Clarence told Florence “I guess I will have to go.” However, at the time of trial, both Clarence and Marquette were deceased. O’Hara’s testimony included a statement by Clarence that Clarence “was not feeling well, that he had requested to be off that day but was refused permission.” The district court directed a verdict against Florence and she appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Goodrich, J.)

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