Cases argued and decided in the Supreme Court of the State of Texas, during the latter part of the Austin term, 1884, and the Tyler term, 1884. Volume 62. Page: 48
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48 RYAN v. HAYS. [Austin Term,
Opinion of the court.
the receiver is in some sense the servant of the company whose property
he holds and operates and whose franchise he exercises.
It may be true, when a railway company, charged by law with a
public duty voluntarily assumed through.the agencies which the
act creating it permits it to select, fails to perform that duty and
to comply with its obligations to others, that such person as a court
of competent jurisdiction may appoint to take charge of its property,
and therewith discharge its obligations to the public and to
others at the same time, should be considered its servant in some
The law, ordinarily, through its charter, provides for the management
of a railway by a directory, to be selected by the stockholders;
but it might provide for the doing of this in some other way, as by
the appointment of the directory, in whole or in part, by a named
department of the government. If so provided, and such a charter
was voluntarily accepted and acted on, would not the directory so
appointed be essentially the servants of the railway company, and
employees under them also the servants of the company?
In such case might not the stockholders, if they operated under a
charter so providing, be held to consent to receive, as their servants,
the persons so selected, and might not their acts bind them as fully
as though they were selected in the usual manner? If so, does not
every railway company accept its charter with the knowledge that,
in a given condition of business mismanagement, the control of its
business and property, charged with a duty to the public, will be
taken from the hands of its directory elected by its stockholders,
and placed in the hands of a receiver appointed by a court? In
such case would not a corporation, by accepting its charter with a
knowledge of the law, consent in effect to such appointment, and
the receiver, in an essential sense, thereby become the servant of the
In many cases it has been held that a railway company is liable
for a breach of duty imposed by statute, even though the injury
which is made the basis of the claim occurred at a time when the
railway was in the exclusive management and control of a receiver,
and this even when due care on the part of the receiver would have
avoided the injury. The line of distinction is exceedingly shadowy
which gives an action against a railway company for the negligence
of a receiver operating its railway, by reason of the fact that the
duty, the non-performance of which constitutes negligence, is imposed
by statute, which is but a written law. The class of cases
referred to, in effect declaring what constitutes negligence, when,
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Texas. Supreme Court. Cases argued and decided in the Supreme Court of the State of Texas, during the latter part of the Austin term, 1884, and the Tyler term, 1884. Volume 62., book, 1885; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth28512/m1/70/: accessed July 16, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .