Home PHILIP CAREY COMPANY vs. DAVID H. PINGREE & another, trustees.

223 Mass. 352

January 19, 1916 - March 4, 1916

Middlesex County


Contract, What constitutes. Trust, Personal liability of trustee.

If two persons, who are the trustees of a real estate trust, make a contract in writing for work and material to be furnished to them and sign the contract with the word "trustees" after their names, they are none the less on this account liable on the contract personally.

CARROLL, J. This is an action for work and material. The defendants are trustees of the Melrose Real Estate Trust. They contend that they are not liable, because the work and material were furnished to the trust and the contract was signed by them not, as individuals, but as trustees. At the trial, against the exception of the plaintiff, the defendants introduced evidence of an oral agreement, made before the written contract was signed, by which the plaintiff agreed not to look to the defendants for payment.

The jury found in answer to a question, that there was no such oral agreement, and also found for the plaintiff. The case is here

Page 353

on a report made by the judge [Note p353] at the request of the defendants, which is in substance, that if no error of law appears, judgment is to be entered for the plaintiff.

The defendants attempted to prove that there was this oral agreement, earlier in date than the written. Even if this evidence were admissible, they cannot now complain of any error of law, since the jury found, as a fact, that there was no such agreement.

By adding the word "trustee" to their names, the defendants did not exempt themselves from personal responsibility, nor did they, by such a signature, provide that the plaintiff was to look solely to the trust estate. Carr v. Leahy, 217 Mass. 438.

According to the terms of the report, judgment is to be entered for the plaintiff, for the sum of $725.71 and interest from the date of the verdict.

So ordered.

C. W. Noyes, J. R. Wellman & C. H. Gilmore, for the defendant Pingree, submitted a brief.

C. A. Castle, for the defendant Townsend, submitted a brief.

J. B. Jacobs, for the plaintiff.


[Note p353] Bell, J.