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Wagner v. International Ry.

New York Court of Appeals
133 N.E. 437 (N.Y. 1921)



Wagner (plaintiff) and his cousin Herbert boarded a train operated by International Ry. (railroad) (defendant). The two stood on the platform of the train. The platform had doors, but the conductor failed to close them. As the train rounded a corner and approached a bridge, Herbert was thrown out of the car. The train proceeded across the bridge and stopped on the other side. Once there Wagner got off the train and began walking across the bridge, hoping to find his cousin’s body. Wagner alleges that the train’s conductor invited him to do so, and even followed him with a torch. The railroad disputes this allegation. While walking, Wagner lost his footing and fell off the bridge. Wagner sued the railroad, alleging that its negligence caused the injuries he suffered attempting to rescue his cousin. The trial court instructed the jury that negligence toward Herbert would not impose liability on International for Wagner's injuries incurred in going to Herbert's rescue unless the conductor had invited Wagner to go onto the bridge and had followed him with a light. The trial court found for International, and the appellate division affirmed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Cardozo, J.)

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