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In an early worker's rights case, Chamberlain v. Milwaukee and Mississippi Railroad Company, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that employers could be held liable if an employee's negligent action injured another employee.

Mr. Chamberlain was working as a messenger when he was asked by the engineer of the train he was on to act as a brakeman for the trip from Milwaukee to Madison.

Due to negligent actions by the engineer, Chamberlain was thrown from the train and seriously injured. The subsequent lawsuit sparked a fierce legal battle that twice reached the Wisconsin Supreme Court.