« ForrigeFortsett »
244 U. S.
BRANDEIS, J., dissenting. to prevent States from entering the specific field of compensation for injuries to employees arising without fault
7. In Crossman v. Lurman, 192 U. S. 189, 199, it was held that the Act of Congress of August 30, 1890, 26 Stat. 414, prohibiting importation into the United States of adulterated and unwholesome food, did not prevent the States from legislating for the prevention of the sale of articles of food so adulterated, as come within valid prohibitions of their statutes.
8. In Reid v. Colorado, 187 U. S. 137, 149, it was held that Congress, by making it an offence under the Animal Industry Act for anyone to send from State to State cattle known to be affeoted with communicable disease, did not prevent the States from penalizing the importation of cattle without inspection by designated state officials.
9. In Missouri, Kansas & Texas Ry. Co. v. Haber, 169 U. S. 613, 623, it was held that the Federal Animal Industry Act, making it a misdemeanor for any person or corporation to transport cattle known to be affected with contagious disease, did not prevent a State from imposing a civil liability for damages sustained by owners of domestic cattle by reason of the importation of such diseased cattle.
10. In Smith v. Alabama, 124 U. S. 465, 482, it was held that Congress did not, by the passage of the Act to Regulate Commerce, prohibit the States from enacting laws requiring persons to undergo examination before being permitted to act as locomotive engineers.
11. In Sherlock v. Alling, 93 U. S. 99, it was held that Congress did not, by the passage of many laws regulating navigation, with a view to safety, and providing for liability in certain cases, prohibit the application to an accident in navigable waters of a State of a statute providing for liability for wrongful death.
The following cases, holding that the Federal Employers' Liability Act supersedes the common or statutory laws of the States relating to the liability of railroads for negligent injuries to their employees while engaged in interstate commerce, are, of course, wholly consistent with the cases above referred to, the "field" of both federal and state laws there under consideration being identical: Second Employers' Liability Cases, 223 U. S. 1, 55; Missouri, Kansas & Texas Ry. Co. v. Wulf, 226 U. S. 570, 576; Michigan Central R. R. Co. v. Vreeland, 227 U. S. 59, 66; St. Louis, Iron Mountain & Southern Ry. Co. v. Hesterly, 228 U. S. 702, 704; St. Louis, San Francisco & Texas Ry. Co. v. Seale, 229 U. S. 156; Taylor v. Taylor, 232 U. S. 363, 368; Seaboard Air Line Ry. v. Horton, 233 U. S. 492, 501; Wabash R. R. Co. v. Hayes, 234 U. S. 86, 89; Toledo, St. Louis & Western R. R. Co. v. Slavin, 236 U. S. 454, 458; St.
BRANDEIS, J., dissenting.
244 U. S.
on the railroad's part, for which Congress made no provision.
To ascertain the intent we must look, of course, first at what Congress has said; then at the action it has taken, or omitted to take. We look at the words of the statute to see whether Congress has used any, which in terms express that will. We enquire whether, without the use of explicit words, that will is expressed in specific action taken. For Congress must be presumed to have intended the necessary consequences of its action. And if we find that its will is not expressed, or is not clearly expressed, either in words or by specific action, we should look at the circumstances under which the Employers' Liability Act was passed; look, on the one hand, at its origin, scope and purpose; and, on the other, at the nature, methods and means of state Workmen's Compensation Laws. If the will is not clearly expressed in words we must consider all these in order to determine what Congress intended.
First-As to words used: The act contains no words expressing a will by Congress to cover the whole field of compensation or relief for injuries received by or for death of such employees while engaged in interstate commerce; or the whole field of carriers' obligations in relation thereto. The language of the act, so far as it indicates anything in this respect, points to just the contrary. For its title is: “An Act Relating to the liability of common carriers by railroad to their employees in certain cases.” 1 Louis, Iron Mountain & Southern Ry. Co. v. Craft, 237 U. S. 648; Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Ry. Co. v. Devine, 239 U. S. 52, 54; Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Ry. Co. v. Wright, 239 U. S. 548, 551; Seaboard Air Line Ry. v. Kenney, 240 U. S. 489, 493; Osborne v. Gray, 241 U. S. 16, 19.
1 The title of this act may be profitably compared with that of the bill (not enacted) prepared by the Employers' Liability and Workmen's Compensation Commission pursuant to Joint Resolution No. 41, approved June 25, 1910, 36 Stat. 884, proposing a Federal Workmen's Compensation Law, which reads: "A bill to provide an exclusive remedy
244 U. S.
BRANDEIS, J., dissenting.
Second—As to specific action taken: The power exercised by Congress is not such that, when exercised, it necessarily excludes the state action here under consideration. It would obviously have been possible for Congress to provide in terms, that wherever such injuries or death result from the railroad's negligence, the remedy should be sought by action for damages; and wherever injury or death results from causes other than the railroad's negligence, compensation may be sought under the Workmen's Compensation Laws of the States.
the States. Between the federal and the state law there would be no conflict whatsoever. They would, on the contrary, be complementary.
Third-As to origin, purpose and scope of the Employers' Liability Act and the nature, methods and means of state Workmen's Compensation Laws: The facts are of common knowledge. Do they manifest that, by entering upon one section of the field of indemnity or relief for injuries or death suffered by employees engaged in interstate commerce, Congress purposed to occupy the whole field?
(A) The origin of the Federal Employers' Liability Act:
By the common law as administered in the several States, the employee, like every other member of the community, was expected to bear the risks necessarily attendant upon life and work; subject only to the right to be indemnified for any loss inflicted by wro ers. The employer, like every other member of the community, was in theory liable to all others for loss resulting from his wrongs; the scope of his liability for wrongs being amplified by the doctrine of respondeat superior. This legal liability, which in theory applied between employer and employee as well as between others, came, in course of
and compensation for accidental injuries resulting in disability or death, to employees of common carriers by railroad engaged in interstate or foreign commerce, or in the District of Columbia, and for other purposes.” Sen. Doc. 338, p. 107, 62d Cong. 2d sess.
BRANDEIS, J., dissenting.
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time, to be seriously impaired in practice. The protection it provided employees seemed to wane as the need for it grew. Three defenses—the doctrines of fellow servant's negligence, of assumption of risk and of contributory negligence-rose and flourished. When applied to huge organizations and hazardous occupations, as in railroading, they practically abolished the liability of employers to employees; and in so doing they worked great hardship and apparent injustice. The wrongs suffered were flagrant; the demand for redress insistent; and the efforts to secure remedial legislation widespread. But the opponents were alert, potent and securely entrenched. The evils of the fellow-servant rule as applied to railroads were recognized as early as 1856, when Georgia passed the first law abolishing the defense. Between the passage of that act and the passage of the first Federal Employers' Liability Act (Act of June 11, 1906, 34 Stat. 232), fifty years elapsed. In those fifty years only four more States had wholly abolished the defense of fellow servant's negligence. Furthermore, in only one State had a statute been passed making recovery possible, where the employee had been guilty of contributory negligence. Meanwhile, the num
1 At the time the first Federal Employers' Liability Act was passed the so-called common law defenses remained in force, in large part, in most of the States, as to railroad employees.
A. The Fellow Servant Rule. (See Compilation of Statutes in "Liability of Employers," Senate Hearings, 1906, pp. 183-288; and in Senate Document No. 207, 60th Congress, 1st sess.)
(1) It had been completely abolished as to railroad employees in only 5 States: Georgia (1856), Kansas (1874), North Carolina (1897), Colorado (1901), North Dakota (1903).
(2) It remained in full force, or substantially so, in 25 States or Territories: Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Maine, Maryland, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, Wyoming.
244 U. S.
BRANDEIS, J., dissenting.
ber of accidents to railroad employees had become appalling. In the year 1905–6 the number killed while on duty was 3,807, and the number injured 55,524. The promoters of remedial action, unable to overcome the efficient opposition presented in the legislatures of the several States, sought and secured the powerful support of the President. Congress was appealed to and used its power
(3) In 16 other States it had been modified; abolished either as to certain more dangerous kinds of work, or as to certain classes of employees: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New York, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin.
(4) The passage of the first federal act immediately stimulated further state legislation. In 1907 the fellow-servant rule was abolished as to railroads in Arkansas, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Dakota; and largely in California, Nebraska, Pennsylvania and
(1) In all but 1 State there had been no statutory change of the rule that contributory negligence constituted a complete defense. Georgia (1895) had substituted the comparative negligence doctrine. In Kansas and Illinois early cases at common law seeming to apply this doctrine had been repudiated. The common law of Tennessee also contained some traces of the doctrine.
(2) During the year following the passage of the first federal act, which adopted the rule of comparative negligence, with mitigation of damages proportionate to the degree of plaintiff's negligence, several States introduced this modification: Nebraska,
Nevada, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin.
The harshness of this rule had been mitigated by statute or other statutory action taken in only 14 States: Alabama, California, Colorado, Georgia, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia. In 1907 Iowa abolished the rule as to employees
giving notice of a known defect. 1 See Report of Interstate Commerce Commission for the year 1906. Summary of Casualties, Table A, p. 161.
2 President's Messages, December 2, 1902; December 6, 1904; December 5, 1905; January 31, 1908.