« PreviousContinue »
EMPLOYERS' LIABILITY BILL.
highways, operated by them under public franchises, extended. Remedies were required for other evils existing in connection with interstate commerce. Congress has undertaken, in a measure, to supply such remedies by appropriate legislation. .. To afford relief to the employees of carriers engaged in interstate commerce, it has enacted the Employers' Liability Bill, authorizing an employee to recover damages for injuries he may have sustained, even though such injuries may have been occasioned by the negligence of a fellow servant or co-employee. The bill goes further and gives to the legal representatives of a deceased employee, in the service of a common carrier, a cause of action against the employer, for damages for injuries resulting in the death of the employee.
The employment of one engaged by a common carrier, to transport persons and property at the highest rate of speed, which the genius of man has made possible, is one of peculiar peril. More than a million of men are so employed. The dangers attending their employment will be understood when attention is called to the fact that in the year 1904, 10,046 of these employees were killed and 84,155 were maimed or injured on the public highways of the nation. Of the number of passengers carried in 1904, 441 were killed and 9,111 were injured. These quasi-public. servants have complained justly, that the law furnished no adequate relief when they sought to recover damages. It is true the State courts were open, and the Federal courts also, when plaintiff and defendant were residents of different States. But established rules of evidence in some jurisdictions rendered a recovery in many cases doubtful, and in others impossible. At common law, a servant could not hold the master liable for the negligence of a fellow servant. This rule, while it has been abrogated in many States, still prevails in others. The law governing contributory negligence also is not uniform. In the Federal courts the question of contributory negligence is usually a question of fact for the jury; but in many States slight evidence of plaintiff's contributory negligence will constitute a bar to his recovery. The Employers' Liability Bill, approved June 11, 1906, establishes a uniform rule. Under it the negligence of a fellow servant will not bar his action, and in every case the question of contributory negligence, where plaintiff's negligence was slight, becomes a question of fact for the jury, who may consider the comparative degree of plaintiff's negligence, and diminish the amount of damages “in proportion to the amount of negligence attributable to such employee.”
Statutes making the carrier liable to an employee for the negligence of a fellow servant, have been adopted in many States. Those in Kansas, Iowa, and Indiana, have been sustained by the Supreme Court of the United States.* Their validity was put upon the ground of the extreme hazard attending the employment of operating a railway. “The business of other corporations,” said Mr. Justice FIELD, in the Mackey case, “is not subject to similar dangers to their employees, and no objection, therefore, can be made to the legislation on the ground of its making an unjust discrimination. It meets a particular necessity, and all railroad corporations are, without distinction, made subject to the same liabilities.” As to creating a new liability against the employer, where no personal wrong is chargeable to the corporation, or its directors, Mr. Justice FIELD observed: “The same hardship and injustice, if there be any, exist when the company, without any wrong or negligence on its part, is charged for injuries to passengers. Whatever care and precaution may be taken in conducting its business or in selecting its servants, if injury happen to the passengers from the negligence or incompetency of the servants, responsibility, therefore, at once attaches to it. The utmost care on its part will not relieve it from liability, if the passenger injured be himself free from contributory negligence.” The court held that the State legislature had power to extend like liability where an employee was injured through the negligence of a fellow servant.
* Tullis v. Lake Erie & Western Railroad, 175 U. S. 348; Missouri Pacific Railıray v. Mackey. 127 U. S. 205 ; Minneapolis & St. Louis Railway y. Pontius, 157 U. S. 209.
LEGISLATION AS TO FOOD PRODUOTS.
PURE FOOD LEGISLATION. Legislation has been enacted also to provide remedies for other commercial evils, bordering very closely on the exercise of the police power, which remains iv the States, and has never been delegated to the Federal government. The cupidity of great industrial corporations has increased with their unparalleled growth and prosperity. Not millions, but hundreds of millions have been invested in combinations which control the food supply of the country, and which furnish also the beverages, liquors, and medicines in common use. Congress, by the enactment of the Pure Food Bill and the Meat Inspection Bill, has said in effect to these public purveyors, the food, which you supply through agencies of interstate commerce, must be pure and wholesome, and every article of commerce intended for consumption, whether for meat or drink, must be what it purports to be, to entitle it to be carried from one State to another. To that extent Congress, by enacting this legislation, has sought to regulate such commerce, to protect the community from the greed which has prompted unscrupulous methods in the preparation and sale of the necessaries of life. The statuto requires these products to be labeled and branded, and forbids their interstate transportation unless so labeled. The label must designate the contents and nature of the article labeled, and the use of a false label is made a crime.
Laws respecting food products have heretofore been enacted by Congress, namely, taxing and regulating the preparation and sale of oleomargarine (Act of August 2, 1886); of filled cheese (Act of June 6, 1896), and mixed flour (Act of October 1, 1890). But the Pure Food Bill and the Meat Inspection Bill is the first general legislation seeking to regulate the preparation and sale of food products, beverages, and medicines.
HALL-MAPK OR JEWELERS LIABILITY BILI.. Congress has legislated alm, with regard to the manu. facture and sale of merchandise prepared from gold and silver, and has enacted what is known as the llall-mark
or Jewelers' Liability Bill. The hall-mark affixed by the goldsmith and silver smith, and the worker in the precious metals, must designate the true weight and fineness of the metal, and the use of a spurious hall-mark is made a criminal offense.
Hall-marks were devised during the Middle Ages to keep the standard of articles made from the precious metals to the required purity. They have been in use in England for more than six hundred years. The first law making their use compulsory was in the reign of Edward I, in the year 1300 (29 Edw. I, Stat. 3, Ch. 30). Under this statute the stamp was designated as the King's mark, represented by a leopard's head or a lion's head, crowned. In 1363 a law was passed (37 Edw. III, Ch. 7) allowing the manufacturer to add his own mark to that of the king, it being known as the maker's mark. A devise was also adopted in 1438 known as the assayer's mark, indicated by a year letter, consisting of an alphabet, one letter being used for each year, counting from the day of the annual election of the Goldsmith's Company. After the entire alphabet was exhausted, different shaped letters were used to continue and preserve the chronology. A spoon with the three marks complete, indicating the year mark for 1445, may be seen in the South Kensington Museum. The spoon was given by Henry VI to Sir Ralph Pudsey.
Congress has now made the use of the hall-mark compulsory, by forbidding the importation, exportation, or carriage in interstate commerce of falsely or spuriously stamped articles of merchandise made of gold or silver, or their alloys.
In this supplement, in addition to the text of the various statutes, will be found also full notes of all decisions reported since the publication of “ Snyder's Interstate Commerce Act and Federal Anti-Trust Laws,” in July, 1904.
WILLIAM L. SNYDER.
TEMPLE COURT, 5 Beekman street,
Niw YORK, August, 1906.
SNYDER'S INTERSTATE COMMERCE ACT AND
FEDERAL ANTI-TRUST LAWS.
Text of the Interstate Commerce Act, as Amended
June 29, 1906. In Effect August 28, 1906.
An Act to amend an Act entitled “An Act to regulate commerce," ap
proved February fourth, eighteen hundred and eighty-seven, and all Acts amendatory thereof, and to enlarge the powers of the Interstate Commerce Commission.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That section one of an Act entitled “An Act to regulate commerce,” approved February fourth, eighteen hundred and eighty-seven, be amended so as to read as follows:
Sec. 1. Commerce Act — Interstate Commerce Defined.* —That the provisions of this Act shall apply to any corporation or any person or persons engaged in the transportation of oil or other commodity, except water and except natural or artificial gas, by means of pipe lines, or partly by pipe
*The side headings in bold face type are inserted for convenience, and form no part of the text of the Act.
For easy reference the amended sections and new sections of the Commerce Act and Elkins Act are printed with leads between the lines, the unamended sections are printed solid, without leads, changes introduced by amendment are indicated, where practical, by italic, or a reference at end of paragraph if it consists of entirely new matter.