New Jersey Steam-Boat Company v. Brockett
This action was brought to recover damages sustained by the defendant in error, the plaintiff below, in consequence of personal injuries inflicted upon him by the employes of the plaintiff in error, a carrier of freight and passengers between the cities of Albany and New York, in the state of New York. A verdict and judgment having been rendered for the sum of $5,500 the case is brought here for review, upon the ground that the court below committed errors of law in the conduct of the trial.
The plaintiff avers that he was received by the defendant as a deck passenger upon its boat the Dean Richmond, at Albany, and that, in consideration of his having paid the price established for passengers of that class, it undertook to carry him safely to the city of New York, and thereby became bound that its servants and employes on said boat should not needlessly injure him while engaged in the discharge of their duties; that the defendant did not keep its contract, but broke the same, in that, by its servants on said boat, it needlessly and severely wounded him in his person during the voyage and whereby, also, incurable injuries were inflicted upon him. These allegations are accompanied by a statement of the circumsatnces under which the plaintiff insists the alleged wrongs were commited.
The answer denies generally that the company's agents or servants were guilty of negligence or improper conduct, and states 'that the plaintiff paid for a deck passage, and it received him on its boat as a deck passenger for passage to New York on a certain part of the boat allotted to deck passengers, as well known to the plaintiff, and subject to long-established rules and regulations of the defendant, including that mentioned in the complaint, of which the plaintiff had due and full notice; that the said rules and regulations were reasonable, and the defendant's officers and employes on the said boat were charged with the duty of enforcing them in a reasonable and proper way, without unnecessary force or violence, and the said rules and regulations, and the officers and employes of the boat in uniform, were well known to the plaintiff; that the plaintiff did not remain on the part of the boat allotted to deck passengers, and did not obey the said reasonable rules and regulations of defendant, but refused so to do, and, contrary to the peace, quiet, good order, and safety of the said boat and its passengers, made a disturbance on the said boat, and the defendant neither used nor authorized any undue or unnecessary force or violence in the enforcement of the aforesaid rule and regulation, but the contrary thereof, and the plaintiff was not injured by any of the defendant's officers, employes, or agents, as alleged in the complaint.'
[ W. P. Prentice and James Lowndes, for plaintiff in error.
[Argument of Counsel from pages 639-643 intentionally omitted]
E. E. Sheldon, for defendant in error.
Mr. Justice HARLAN, after stating the facts in the foregoing language, delivered the opinion of the court.