Home MERVIN HAT CORPORATION vs. TEXTILE PAPER TUBE COMPANY, INC.

338 Mass. 788

November 28, 1958

Order dismissing report affirmed. In this action of tort for property damage alleged to have been caused by the defendant's negligence the judge found for the plaintiff. A report to the Appellate Division having been dismissed, the defendant appealed. There was evidence that at the times here material the plaintiff occupied the fourth floor of a building in Fall River in which it manufactured men's hats. The defendant, which manufactured paper tubes, occupied the fifth floor of this building. On September 7, 1951, a Friday, the plaintiff closed its factory for the weekend. On the following day (Saturday) one Douglas, the defendant's treasurer, went to the defendant's premises and turned the water on in a large tank owned and controlled by the defendant. Douglas then went into another part of the premises and "became busy or occupied and forgot about the water running in the tank." As a result, water overflowed and seeped from the defendant's premises onto the plaintiff's premises, causing damage to the plaintiff's property. The questions of law sought to be raised stem from the granting of three of the plaintiff's requests, which we interpret as rulings that a finding for the plaintiff was warranted, and from the denial of the defendant's motion for a new trial. The defendant first contends that there was a variance between the declaration and the proof. The short answer to this contention is that no question of pleading was raised at the trial. Hence the finding for the plaintiff will be sustained "if the evidence was sufficient in any legal form of declaring to justify a finding for the plaintiff in any amount." Weiner v. D. A. Schulte, Inc. 275 Mass. 379 , 385. The principal contention of the defendant is that the evidence would not warrant a finding that Douglas was acting for the corporation at the time he turned on the water. But we think that it was open to the judge to infer from the fact that Douglas was the defendant's treasurer and that after he turned on the water he became "busy or occupied on the premises" that he was there on the defendant's business on the day in question. Finally, the defendant argues that the judge erred in denying its motion for a new trial. On the grounds set forth in the motion it was addressed to the judge's discretion and we cannot say that its denial was an abuse of discretion.

Home GRACE HIGGINS & another vs. PATRICK RICCA.

338 Mass. 788

November 28, 1958

Exceptions overruled. In this action of tort to recover for the personal injuries of the plaintiff Grace Higgins and the consequential damage of her husband Joseph Higgins, there was evidence that they were riding as guests of the defendant in an automobile operated by him on Main Street, Malden, at about 11:30 P.M., on April 15, 1956. The road was fifty feet wide, paved, and dry. The defendant while driving at a speed of forty to fifty miles per hour "kept looking back" to talk with Higgins who was sitting on the right rear seat. Higgins told him "a couple of times" to watch the road. An automobile was seen on the road ahead standing at the traffic lights of an intersection. Someone screamed "Look out." The defendant "jammed on his brakes" and the automobile suddenly came to a stop without any collision. Mrs. Higgins was thrown forward and injured. The evidence did not show

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inattention on the part of the driver and indifference to the hazards of the road sufficient to constitute gross negligence. Altman v. Aronson, 231 Mass. 558 . See Cahalane v. Dennery, 298 Mass. 34 . There was no error in the direction of verdicts for the defendant.