Home DOROTHY ZEGA & another vs. ALLAN ROY KINGSTON & another.

346 Mass. 773

November 27, 1963

Exceptions overruled. There was no error in directing verdicts for the defendants in this action of tort for injuries and consequential damages resulting from a fall by the plaintiff Dorothy Zega in the front hall of the house of the defendant Kingston. Mrs. Zega and her husband, the other plaintiff, were tenants in the first floor apartment in that house. Mrs. Zega testified that she fell over two rolls of tar paper which were on the floor of the large unfurnished hall near a bay window opposite her apartment door. She knew that the rolls had been there for several days awaiting use in connection with repairs and changes in the house. The accident occurred when Mrs. Zega, while closing one of the bay windows, heard the telephone ring "a couple of times" and, as no one answered, turned quickly to go (as we infer) to answer the call. She "either forgot or didn't see" the rolls. The relation between the defendant Ward, who had been engaged to do the work, and Kingston is inconsequential. The placing or presence of the rolls in an obvious place in the hallway violated no duty of either defendant to the plaintiffs. Collins v. Goodrich, 324 Mass. 251 . St. Rock v. Gagnon, 342 Mass. 722 , and cases cited.

Home HELEN A. SPRING vs. WILLIAM H. BURKE, JR., & another.

346 Mass. 773

November 27, 1963

Plaintiff's exceptions overruled. Defendants' exceptions dismissed. The plaintiff brings this action of tort to recover for injuries sustained by her on March 22, 1960, on premises owned by her daughter and her daughter's husband. The plaintiff had agreed to "baby-sit" for her daughter for several hours so that she could do some shopping. The case was submitted to the jury who returned a verdict for the defendants. The plaintiff excepted to a portion of the charge "wherein the jury was instructed that the plaintiff . . . [to acquire the status of an invitee] must show that she was on the defendants' premises as a business or commercial guest." True, in portions of the charge, the judge tended to stress the

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necessity of the plaintiff establishing a business or commercial relationship in order to recover. But reading the charge as a whole, we are of opinion that the jury were given correct instructions. They were told that the test was whether the plaintiff was on the defendants' premises for the "purpose of conferring a benefit, not necessarily pecuniary" and that the benefit must "not comprise those intangible advantages arising from mere social intercourse." This language was taken almost word for word from our decision in O'Brien v. Shea, 326 Mass. 681 , 682-683, which was quoted with approval in the recent case of Pandiscio v. Bowen, 342 Mass. 435 , 437. This conclusion makes it unnecessary to discuss the defendants' exception to the denial of their motion for a directed verdict.