This is a petition under G. L. c. 250, Section 15, filed on December 26, 1967, to vacate a judgment of the Superior Court for the county of Suffolk entered on March 13, 1967, in favor of the plaintiff (the respondent here) in an action of contract for legal services against the petitioner. The petitioner and his counsel are both from Springfield. The petition alleges that the default was entered for failure of counsel to appear at the call of the conciliation list. The petition was denied and the petitioner excepted. There was no abuse of discretion.
In this action of contract demurrers were sustained to the declaration and to the amended declaration. The plaintiff appealed from each ruling. The plaintiff, a tenant at will of the defendant's premises, made improvements to permit the installation of an egg processing machine and refrigeration plant which were wrought into the real estate. The Boston Redevelopment Authority took the premises by eminent domain, and paid the defendant a sum in compensation which included the value of the plaintiff's improvements. The loss of such improvements by a tenant at will is not compensable. Riedel v. Plymouth Redevelopment Authy. 354 Mass. 664 , 666. The amended declaration sought damages for unjust enrichment. It alleged that the defendant promised "to protect the plaintiff's investment in the defendant's property in the event of a taking by eminent domain." This statement is too vague to give rise to any cause of action. Grandchamp v. Costello, 289 Mass. 506 , 507. The appeal from the order sustaining the demurrer to the original declaration is dismissed. National Overall Dry Cleaning Co. v. Yavner, 321 Mass. 434 , 436. The order sustaining the demurrer to the amended declaration is affirmed.
The jury returned a verdict for the plaintiff in an action of tort for personal injuries sustained in a fall when a platform at the bottom of stairs in a common
passageway in the defendant's premises gave way, plunging her into the cellar. She had gone to the premises to visit a tenant who testified that some two weeks prior to the accident she noticed that the platform was "loose" and that it "rocked," and that this condition persisted until the accident. Three employees of the defendant testified. One, a janitor, was on the premises constantly. A rent collector also made visits "practically every other day." Both stated they had the duty of reporting any unusual condition on the premises to the defendant. The defendant's working foreman testified that the platform fell as a result of a four inch slab of concrete breaking at the middle of an I beam. The defendant is here on exceptions to the refusal of the judge to grant his motions for a directed verdict and a new trial. There was no error. The defect became obvious only after the tenant had been in residence for a period of years. The landlord owed the duty to keep the platform in as good condition as that in which it was or appeared to be at the time of the letting. Dello Rusio v. Rizzo, 302 Mass. 177 , 178. Schwartz v. Feinberg, 306 Mass. 331 , 333-334. Dreher v. Bedford Realty, Inc. 335 Mass. 385 , 388. He owed this duty not only to the tenant but to her guests. Dello Russo v. Rizzo, supra, at p. 178. Merwin v. De Raptellis, 338 Mass. 118 , 120. In this case the defendant had a janitor and rent collector who were frequently on the premises where the janitor in fact lived. The knowledge or opportunity for knowledge of the defective condition of the platform "must be taken to be the knowledge and opportunity for knowledge of the defendant." Dunlea v. R. D. A. Realty Co. 301 Mass. 505 , 509.