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Rogers v. Missouri Pacific Railroad Co.

United States Supreme Court
352 U.S. 500 (1957)


Rogers (plaintiff) was working for Missouri Pacific Railroad Co. (MPRR) (defendant), burning weeds and vegetation along MPRR’s track. Burning like it was generally done with a flame thrower from a car on the track. In this instance, however, Rogers was instructed to be on foot, using a hand torch. He was instructed to stand back when a train passed along the tracks. On the day in question, a train came, and Rogers stopped burning and stood back as he was supposed to. However, the passing train fanned the flames from where Rogers had been burning. He ran further away from the fire, but in doing so, slipped and fell, sustaining serious injuries. Rogers brought suit against MPRR seeking to recover for the injuries. The Circuit Court of St. Louis found in favor of Rogers under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act, which imposes liability on an employer for injury due “in whole or in part” to its negligence. The Supreme Court of Missouri reversed, finding that Rogers should have been watching the fire more attentively and that his evidence did not support a finding his favor. Rogers appealed.

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