356 Mass. 726

October 30, 1969

Mrs. Shepard and her minor son on February 8, 1961, were injured when, according to her testimony and the plaintiffs' notice of claim, she tripped on a porcelain tabletop, partly covered by snow, in a driveway through a courtyard. The driveway led to the apartment, of which the Shepards were tenants, in a large building owned by the defendant. The tabletop had been seen for several days "lying at the edge of the courtyard on a snowbank." It then "was not interfering with the driveway." The "tabletop was not in the driveway the morning of the accident." There was no evidence concerning who had placed the tabletop on the snowbank in the courtyard or about who, if anyone, moved it. Cf. Martin v. Reis, 344 Mass. 32, 35-36. We need not decide whether prior action by the defendant in cleaning the courtyard was merely a gratuitous undertaking not required by its lease to, and arrangements with, Shepard. See Bell v. Siegel, 242 Mass. 380, 382; Spack v. Longwood Apartments, Inc. 338 Mass. 518, 519-520. Even if the landlord had assumed some duty to clear the courtyard of obstacles, there was no evidence that the tabletop had been moved from its harmless position on the snowbank to the point in the driveway where Mrs. Shepard tripped on it a sufficient time before the accident (see Deagle v. Great Atl. & Pac. Tea Co. 343 Mass. 263, 265-266) so that the landlord could be found to be negligent in failing to remove it. A verdict for the defendant was properly directed.

Exceptions overruled.

Home LEE MYLES ASSOCIATES, INC. vs. SOUNDCRAFT ASSOCIATES, INC. & another (and a companion case [Note 1] ).

356 Mass. 726

October 31, 1969

The plaintiffs appeal from final decrees in cases consolidated for presentation to this court. No good purpose would be served by a recitation of pertinent facts. Examination of the transcript reveals ample support for the decrees. Attorney Gen. v. Woburn, 322 Mass. 634, 638.

Decrees affirmed with costs.


[Note 1] Columbia Records Division of Columbia Broadcasting Systems, Inc. v. Soundcraft Associates, Inc. & another.


356 Mass. 726

October 31, 1969

This is an appeal by the assessors from a decision of the Appellate Tax Board granting a partial abatement of a real estate tax. On July 13, 1966, Costin purchased for $115,000 a large tract of land in Nahant with certain buildings on part of it. Portions of the land were sold by Costin on or prior to October 3, 1966, for $62,500, in the aggregate. As of January 1, 1967, Costin owned three lots containing a total of 170,407 square feet of land on which stood a large one family frame dwelling 100 years old (which could be found to have incurred "a considerable amount of functional obsolescence"), a greenhouse, a swimming pool, and a cabana. This property was assessed on that date for $70,600. After denial of an application for abatement, the assessment upon Costin's appeal under the formal procedure was reduced by the Appellate Tax Board to $55,000. This amount was $2,500 more than the purchase price ($115,000) of the area bought by Costin less the aggregate of

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the sales prices received by him for the land sold by him in 1966 ($62,500). The board's conclusion was based upon adequate subsidiary findings which in turn were supported by substantial evidence. The board was not required to accept the opinion expressed, or the valuation principles used, by an expert witness called by the assessors.

Decision of the Appellate Tax Board affirmed.

The taxpayer is to have costs before the board and in this court.