Tinsley v. Treat

Last updated
Tinsley v. Treat
Seal of the United States Supreme Court.svg
Argued December 3–4, 1906
Decided March 4, 1907
Full case nameTinsley v. Treat
Citations 205 U.S. 20 ( more )
27 S. Ct. 430; 51 L. Ed. 689; 1907 U.S. LEXIS 1448
Court membership
Chief Justice
Melville Fuller
Associate Justices
John M. Harlan  · David J. Brewer
Edward D. White  · Rufus W. Peckham
Joseph McKenna  · Oliver W. Holmes Jr.
William R. Day  · William H. Moody

Tinsley v. Treat, 205 U.S. 20 (1907), was a case decided by the Supreme Court of the United States that found while an indictment in a removal proceeding constitutes prima facie evidence of probable cause, it is not conclusive, so evidence put forth by a defendant showing that no offense triable in the district to which removal is sought had been committed is admissible, and its exclusion is not mere error, but the denial of a right secured under the Federal Constitution. [1]

Supreme Court of the United States Highest court in the United States

The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the federal judiciary of the United States. Established pursuant to Article III of the U.S. Constitution in 1789, it has original jurisdiction over a small range of cases, such as suits between two or more states, and those involving ambassadors. It also has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all federal court and state court cases that involve a point of federal constitutional or statutory law. The Court has the power of judicial review, the ability to invalidate a statute for violating a provision of the Constitution or an executive act for being unlawful. However, it may act only within the context of a case in an area of law over which it has jurisdiction. The Court may decide cases having political overtones, but it has ruled that it does not have power to decide nonjusticiable political questions. Each year it agrees to hear about 100–150 of the more than 7,000 cases that it is asked to review.

An indictment is a criminal accusation that a person has committed a crime. In jurisdictions that use the concept of felonies, the most serious criminal offence is a felony; jurisdictions that do not use the felonies concept often use that of an indictable offence, an offence that requires an indictment.

Removal jurisdiction

In the United States, removal jurisdiction sometimes exists for the defendant to move a civil action filed in a state court to the United States district court in the district in which the state court is located. A federal statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1441et seq., governs removal.


The provisions of the Safety Appliance Act of March 2, 1893, amended April 1, 1896, declared it to be unlawful for any common carrier engaged in interstate commerce to haul or permit to be hauled or used on its line any car used in moving interstate commerce not equipped with couplers coupling automatically by impact, and which can be uncoupled without the necessity of men going between the ends of the cars, relate to all kinds of cars running on the rails, including locomotives and steam shovel cars. Johnson v. Southern Pacific.

A common carrier in common law countries is a person or company that transports goods or people for any person or company and that is responsible for any possible loss of the goods during transport. A common carrier offers its services to the general public under license or authority provided by a regulatory body. The regulatory body has usually been granted "ministerial authority" by the legislation that created it. The regulatory body may create, interpret, and enforce its regulations upon the common carrier with independence and finality, as long as it acts within the bounds of the enabling legislation.

The object of the statute was to protect the lives and limbs of railroad employees by rendering it unnecessary for men operating the couplers to go between the ends of the cars, and the words "used in moving interstate traffic" occurring therein are not to be taken in a narrow sense.

In a suit based upon the Safety Appliance Act of March 2, 1893, as amended April 1, 1896, the plaintiff is not called upon to negative the proviso of § 6 of said act either in his pleadings or proofs. Such proviso merely creates an exception, and if the defendant wishes to rely thereon, the burden is upon it to bring itself within the terms of the exception; those who set up such an exception must establish it.

Assumption of risk as extended to dangerous conditions of machinery, premises, and the like, obviously shades into negligence as commonly understood. The difference between the two is one of degree, rather than of kind.

Section 8 of the Automatic Coupler Act having exonerated the employee from assumption of risk under specified conditions, the employee's rights in that regard should not be sacrificed by charging him with assumption of risk under another name, for example, with contributory negligence.

In this case, the so-called contributory negligence of the deceased employee was so involved with and dependent upon erroneous views of the statute that the judgment complained of must be reversed.

In some common law jurisdictions, contributory negligence is a defense to a tort claim based on negligence. If it is available, the defense completely bars plaintiffs from any recovery if they contribute to their own injury through their own negligence.

See also

Related Research Articles

A tort, in common law jurisdictions, is a civil wrong that causes a claimant to suffer loss or harm resulting in legal liability for the person who commits the tortious act.

An affirmative defense to a civil lawsuit or criminal charge is a fact or set of facts other than those alleged by the plaintiff or prosecutor which, if proven by the defendant, defeats or mitigates the legal consequences of the defendant's otherwise unlawful conduct. In civil lawsuits, affirmative defenses include the statute of limitations, the statute of frauds, waiver, and other affirmative defenses such as, in the United States, those listed in Rule 8 (c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. In criminal prosecutions, examples of affirmative defenses are self defense, insanity, and the statute of limitations.

Railroad Safety Appliance Act

The Safety Appliance Act is a United States federal law that made air brakes and automatic couplers mandatory on all trains in the United States. It was enacted on March 2, 1893, and took effect in 1900, after a seven-year grace period. The act is credited with a sharp drop in accidents on American railroads in the early 20th century.

Vicarious liability is a form of a strict, secondary liability that arises under the common law doctrine of agency, respondeat superior, the responsibility of the superior for the acts of their subordinate or, in a broader sense, the responsibility of any third party that had the "right, ability or duty to control" the activities of a violator. It can be distinguished from contributory liability, another form of secondary liability, which is rooted in the tort theory of enterprise liability because, unlike contributory infringement, knowledge is not an element of vicarious liability. The law has developed the view that some relationships by their nature require the person who engages others to accept responsibility for the wrongdoing of those others. The most important such relationship for practical purposes is that of employer and employee

<i>Sampson v. Channell</i>

Sampson v. Channell, 110 F.2d 754, was a United States Court of Appeals decision interpreting the application of the Erie doctrine where diversity jurisdiction is invoked in a choice of law situation, where a court in one state may be called upon to apply the laws of another state.

English tort law

English tort law concerns the compensation for harm to people's rights to health and safety, a clean environment, property, their economic interests, or their reputations. A "tort" is a wrong in civil, rather than criminal law, that usually requires a payment of money to make up for damage that is caused. Alongside contracts and unjust enrichment, tort law is usually seen as forming one of the three main pillars of the law of obligations.

Volenti non fit iniuria is a common law doctrine which states that if someone willingly places themselves in a position where harm might result, knowing that some degree of harm might result, they are not able to bring a claim against the other party in tort or delict. Volenti applies only to the risk which a reasonable person would consider them as having assumed by their actions; thus a boxer consents to being hit, and to the injuries that might be expected from being hit, but does not consent to his opponent striking him with an iron bar, or punching him outside the usual terms of boxing. Volenti is also known as a "voluntary assumption of risk."

Ex turpi causa non oritur actio is a legal doctrine which states that a plaintiff will be unable to pursue legal remedy if it arises in connection with his own illegal act. Particularly relevant in the law of contract, tort and trusts, ex turpi causa is also known as the illegality defence, since a defendant may plead that even though, for instance, he broke a contract, conducted himself negligently or broke an equitable duty, nevertheless a claimant by reason of his own illegality cannot sue. The UK Supreme Court provided a thorough reconsideration of the doctrine in 2016 in Patel v Mirza.

Li v. Yellow Cab Co., 532 P.2d 1226, 13 Cal.3d 804 (1975), commonly referred to simply as Li, is a California Supreme Court case that judicially embraced comparative negligence in California tort law and rejected strict contributory negligence.

In the English law of negligence, the acts of the claimant may give the defendant a defence to liability, whether in whole or part, if those acts unreasonably add to the loss.

<i>Martin v. Herzog</i>

Martin v. Herzog, Ct. of App. of N.Y., 228 N Y. 164, 126 N.E. 814 (1920), was a New York Court of Appeals case.

Tedla v. Ellman

Tedla v. Ellman was a 1939 New York Court of Appeals case that was influential in establishing the bounds of the negligence per se doctrine. Ordinarily, a statutory violation constitutes negligence. However, the court, in an opinion written by Irving Lehman, instead held that because this violation occurred in a situation not anticipated by the drafters of the statute and was in keeping with the spirit of the statute, it did not constitute negligence.

The tort of deceit is a type of legal injury that occurs when a person intentionally and knowingly deceives another person into an action that damages them. Specifically, deceit requires that the tortfeasor

Schlemmer v. Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh Railway Co., 205 U.S. 1 (1907), was a cause of action for the death of the plaintiff's intestate, Adam M. Schlemmer, while trying to couple a shovel car to a caboose.

Wilmington Star Mining Co. v. Fulton, 205 U.S. 60 (1907), was a case concerning whether it is an appropriate exercise of the police power of the state to regulate the use of mining properties, and that mine owners are not deprived of their property, privileges, or immunities without due process of law, or denied the equal protection of the laws, by the Illinois Mining Statute of 1899, which requires the employment of licensed mine managers and mine examiners and imposes upon the mine owners liability for the willful failure of the manager and examiner to furnish a reasonably safe place for the workmen.

Price v. Pennsylvania Railroad Co., 113 U.S. 218 (1885), was a case where the plaintiff sued the defendant for the loss of her husband by a death which the jury found, by a special verdict, to be caused by the negligence of the company's servant or servants.

<i>Baker v T E Hopkins & Son Ltd</i>

Baker v. T E Hopkins & Son Ltd [1959] 3 All ER 225 is a Court of Appeal of England and Wales decision dealing with the issue of helpers' liability in tort.

Johnson v. Southern Pacific Co., 196 U.S. 1 (1904), was a case before the United States Supreme Court. It interpreted the words "any car" in the Railroad Safety Appliance Act prohibiting common carriers from using any car in moving interstate commerce not equipped with automatic couplers. In doing so, it overturned the Eighth Circuit in Johnson v. Southern P. Co., 117 F. 462

Young v. United Parcel Service, 575 U.S. ___ (2015), is a United States Supreme Court case that the Court evaluated the requirements for bringing a disparate treatment claim under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. In a 6-3 decision, the Court held that to bring such a claim, a pregnant employee must show that their employer refused to provide accommodations and that the employer later provided accommodations to other employees with similar restrictions. The Court then remanded the case to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit to determine whether the employer engaged in discrimination under this new test.


  1. Tinsley v. Treat, 205 U.S. 20 (1907).
<i>United States Reports</i> official record of the rulings, orders, case tables, and other proceedings of the Supreme Court of the United States

The United States Reports are the official record of the rulings, orders, case tables, in alphabetical order both by the name of the petitioner and by the name of the respondent, and other proceedings of the Supreme Court of the United States. United States Reports, once printed and bound, are the final version of court opinions and cannot be changed. Opinions of the court in each case are prepended with a headnote prepared by the Reporter of Decisions, and any concurring or dissenting opinions are published sequentially. The Court's Publication Office oversees the binding and publication of the volumes of United States Reports, although the actual printing, binding, and publication are performed by private firms under contract with the United States Government Publishing Office.