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BOWERSOCK v. SMITH

March 6, 1917

BOWERSOCK
v.
SMITH, ADMINISTRATRIX OF SMITH



ERROR TO THE SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF KANSAS

White, McKenna, Holmes, Day, Van Devanter, Pitney, McReynolds, Brandeis, Clarke

Author: White

[ 243 U.S. Page 30]

 MR. CHIEF JUSTICE WHITE delivered the opinion of the court.

Chapter 356 of the Laws of Kansas of 1903, General Statutes of 1909, §§ 4676 to 4683, is entitled and provides in part as follows:

"An Act requiring safeguards for the protection of all persons employed or laboring in manufacturing establishments, and providing civil remedies for all persons so engaged, or their personal representatives, in cases where any such person may be killed or injured while employed or laboring in any manufacturing establishment which is not properly provided with the safeguards required by this act.

"Sec. 4. All . . . machinery of every description used in a manufacturing establishment shall, where practicable,

[ 243 U.S. Page 31]

     be properly and safely guarded, for the purpose of preventing or avoiding the death of or injury to the persons employed or laboring in any such establishment; and it is hereby made the duty of all persons owning or operating manufacturing establishments to provide and keep the same furnished with safeguards as herein specified.

"Sec. 5. If any person employed or laboring in any manufacturing establishment shall be killed or injured in any case wherein the absence of any of the safeguards or precautions required by the act shall directly contribute to such death or injury, the personal representatives of the person so killed, or the person himself, in case of injury only, may maintain an action against the person owning or operating such manufacturing establishment for the recovery of all proper damages. . . .

"Sec. 6. In all actions brought under and by virtue of the provisions of this act, it shall be sufficient for the plaintiff to prove in the first instance, in order to establish the liability of the defendant, that the death or injury complained of resulted in consequence of the failure of the person owning or operating the manufacturing establishment where such death or injury occurred to provide said establishment with safeguards as required by this act, or that the failure to provide such safeguard directly contributed to such death or injury."

This act being in force, Smith, the superintendent of the Lawrence Paper Manufacturing Company, while engaged in adjusting some unguarded dryer rolls, was caught between them, crushed and killed. Relying upon the law above quoted, his personal representative sued Bowersock, the owner of the factory, to recover the damages suffered. The petition alleged the dangerous character of the dryer rolls and the fact that, although it was practicable to guard them, the requirements of the act in that respect had not been complied with, and

[ 243 U.S. Page 32]

     charged that the failure to do so directly caused the death of Smith. It was further alleged that at the time of the accident Smith was engaged in adjusting the machinery under the direction of a superior officer, the assistant manager of the factory. The answer, while denying generally the allegations of the petition, alleged that it was not practicable to guard the dryer rolls and averred that Smith was guilty of contributory negligence. It was also averred that as superintendent Smith by his contract of employment was under the duty of safeguarding the machinery and was charged generally with authority to direct the use of the same and hence he had ...


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