« ForrigeFortsett »
Supreme Court of the United States
OCTOBER TERM, 1898.
[Authenticated copy of opinion record strictly followed, except as to such reference words and figures as are inclosed in brackets.]
FRANK H. PIERCE, Petitioner, TENNESSEE COAL, IRON & RAILROAD COMPANY.
(See 8. C. Reporter's ed. 1-17.)
Settlement of railroad company with employee for injuries—contract for permanent employment-damages for its breach.
1. When a railroad company promised to pay one of its employees, who had been injured by its cars, certain wages and to furnish him with certain supplies so long as his disability to do full work continued by reason of his injury, in settlement of his claim for such
injury; and in consideration of these promises the employee agreed to do for the company such work as he was able to do and to release the company from all liability for damages for such injuries, which caused his disability, the company cannot at its own will and pleasure cease to perform its obligations which were the consideration of the release. . Such contract is sufficiently definite as to time, and binds the railroad company to its performance so long as the employee shall be disabled by reason of such injuries, which, if he is permanently disabled, will be for life.
Where the railroad company after a time abandoned the contract and discharged the employee without cause, the latter may maintain an action, once for all, as for a total breach of the entire contract, and may recover all he would have received in the future, as well as in the past, if the contract had been kept, deducting any sum he might have earned in the past or might earn in the future, and any loss the company had sustained by loss
of his services without its fault.
Northern District of Alabama in favor of Frank H. Pierce, the plaintiff, for the sum of $5,893. The plaintiff sued in the Circuit Court of Jefferson County, Alabama, which court sustained a demurrer to his complaint, but upon appeal to the Supreme Court of the State of Alabama the judgment was reversed and the case remanded to the County Court, and upon motion of the defendant the case was removed to the Circuit Court of the United States for the Southern Division of the Northern District of Alabama. Judg. ment of the Circuit Court of Appeals and of the Circuit Court of the United States re versed, and the case remanded to said Cir. cuit Court for further proceedings in con formity with the opinion of this court.
See same case below, 110 Ala, 533, 52 U. S. App. 355, 365.
Statement by Mr. Justice Gray:
This was an action brought January 22, 1892, in the circuit court of Jefferson coun ty in the state of Alabama, by Frank H Pierce, a citizen of the state of Alabama, against the Tennessee Coal, Iron, & Railroad Company, a corporation of the state of Tennessee, doing business in the state of Ala bama, upon a written contract, signed by the parties, and in the following terms:
Pratt Mines, Ala., 4th June, 1890. Whereas I. F. H. Pierce, while in the em. ploy of the Tennessee Iron, Coal & Railroad Company, Pratt Mines Division, as a ma chinist, was seriously hurt by a trip of tram cars on the main slope of the mine known as Slope No. 2, and operated by the Tennesse Coal, Iron & Railroad Company, under cir cumstances which I claim render the said company liable to me for damages; but
☛gued and Submitted January 19, 20, 1899. whereas they disclaim any liability for said Decided February 20, 1899.
ERTIORARI to the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the Fifth Cirit to review a judgment of that court rersing a judgment of the United States Cirit Court for the Southern Division of the
accident or the injuries to me resulting from same; and both parties being desirous of settling and compromising said matter; and whereas the said Tennessee Coal, Iron & Railroad Company did make me a proposi tion on the day of November, 1888 said accident having occurred on the 21st