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Titus v. Bradford, B. & K. R. Co.

Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
20 A. 517 (Pa. 1890)



Bradford, B. & K. R. Co. (Bradford) (defendant) was a railroad company that operated a narrow gauge railroad track. Bradford’s business was transporting over to its tracks the unloaded and loaded railroad cars belonging to other major carriers using standard gauge railroad tracks. To accomplish this, Bradford used a “hoist” to move the car bodies onto its own flat cars specifically designed for more narrow tracks. Most cars from other carriers had flat bottoms and thus sat securely on top of Bradford’s cars. However, some car bodies, called “Nypano” cars, had slightly rounded bottoms and thus did not sit securely. Bradford employees typically bolted these cars down or tied them down with telegraph wire. Titus’ (plaintiff) decedent worked on Bradford’s railroad for over two years and was very familiar with Nypano cars. On June 7, 1888, he was riding on top of one Nypano car while the train was moving. The cars appeared to be securely wired on. However, as the train rounded a sharp turn, the car on which Titus’ decedent was sitting began to sway and start to tip over. The decedent ran forward but was unable to jump to the next car in time. He fell to the tracks and was killed when the next car in line ran over him. Titus brought suit against Bradford on the ground that the company was negligent in transporting standard-size car bodies on narrow gauge tracks. The jury awarded Titus $5,325 in damages, and Bradford appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Mitchell, J.)

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