The Green Bag
Negligence. Rescuer May Bring Action for Injuries Sustained in his Attempt to Save Life — Issues of Fact. Minn. If a person rescues or unsuccessfully attempts to rescue one who is in peril, may he recover for injuries received in the attempt, from the one whose negligence imperiled the life of the rescued person? This question has lately been before the Supreme Court of Minnesota in a case where plaintiff, a servant of a mining company, attempted to save a fellow servant, who, not having been warned of the dangers of blast ing with dynamite, had placed himself in peril — close to a lighted fuse. Realizing that the man was in great danger, plaintiff left a place of safety and started towards him, calling him in the meantime, for the purpose of rescuing him. He was too late. The charge of dynamite exploded. The man about to be rescued was killed and plaintiff was seriously injured. In an action against the mining company, Perpich v.Leetonia Mining Co., 137 Northwestern Reporter 12, the court ruled in answer to the question, that a recovery would lie, providing that the act of attempted rescue be not one of extreme recklessness. In this case, whether plaintiff's act was so reckless and rash as to constitute contributory negligence or assumption of risk, the court held, was issue of fact for the jury. The court said: — "Persons are held justified in assuming greater risks in the protection of human life than would be sustained under other circumstances. Senti ments of humanity applaud the act, the law com mends it." Verdict for plaintiff was affirmed. Unfair Competition. Statute Prohibiting Price-Cutting to Crush Competitors in Par ticular Sections Upheld — Equal Protection of the Laws — Court Cannot Review Economic Grounds of Legislative Action. . U. S. In Central Lumber Co. v. South Dakota (Oct. Term, 1912, No. 51), it was held by the Supreme Court of the United States, in an opinion filed on Dec. 2, sustaining the Supreme Court of South Dakota, that a statute making it a crime punishable by fine for any one "engaged in the production, manufacture or distribution of any commodity in general use, intentionally, for the purpose of destroying the competition of any regular established dealer in such commodity or to prevent the competition of any person who in good faith intends and attempts to become such dealer," to discriminate between different sections, communities or cities of the state "by
selling such commodity at. a lower rate in one section . . . than such person . . . charges for such commodity in another section, . . . after equalizing the distance from the point of pro duction," was not in conflict with the Fourteenth Amendment. In reply to the contention that the statute in question was a denial of equal protection of the laws, because it affected the conduct of only one particular class, Mr. Justice Holmes said: — "If the legislature shares the now prevailing belief as to what is public policy and finds that a particular instrument of trade war is being used against that policy in certain cases, it may direct its law against what it deems the evil as it actually exists without covering the whole field of possible abuses, and it may do so none the less that the forbidden act does not differ in kind from those that are allowed: Lindsley v. National Carbon Gas Co., 220 U. S. 61, 81; Missouri Pacific Ry. Co. v. Mackey, 127 U. S. 205. "That is not the arbitrary selection that is condemned in such cases as Southern Ry. Co. v. Greene, 216 U. S. 400. The Fourteenth Amend ment does not prohibit legislation special in character: Magoun v. Illinois Trust & Savings Bank, 170 U. S. 283, 294. It docs not prohibit a state from carrying out a policy that cannot be pronounced purely arbitrary, by taxation or penal laws: Orient Insurance Co. v. Daggs, 172 U. S. 557, 562; Quong Wing v. Kirkendall, 223 U. S. 59, 62. If a class is deemed to present a conspicuous example of what the legislature seeks to prevent, the Fourteenth Amendment allows it to be dealt with, although otherwise and merely logically not distinguishable from others not embraced in the law: Carroll v. Green wich Insurance Co., 199 U. S. 401, 411. "We must assume that the legislature of South Dakota considered that people selling in two places made the prohibited use of their oppor tunities and that such use was harmful, although the usual efforts of competitors were desired. It might have been argued to the legislature with more force than it can be to us that recoup ment in one place of losses in another is merely an instance of financial ability to compete. If the legislature thought that that particular manifestation of ability usually came from great corporations whose power it deemed excessive and for that reason did more harm than good in their state, and that there was no other case of frequent occurrence where the same could be said, we cannot review their economics or their facts."