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The defendant's contentions are two: (1) That there is nothing to show that what injured the plaintiff's eye came from the contact-shoe, and (2) that there was nothing to warrant the jury in finding that the de fendant was negligent in failing to apply to the railroad commissioners for approval of the pan; the still further contention being included in this last that the effect of the answer of the jury to the second question is to exclude from consideration any evidence of negligence in the selection of the contactshoe that was used.
1. We think that there was evidence warranting the finding by the jury that the particle which entered the plaintiff's eye came from the operation of a contact-shoe. In the question to the jury it was assumed and without objection so far as appears, that the particle was a piece of metal. This assumption was justified by the evidence. The particle was described as “about a sixteenth of an inch in length and a long, narrow, wedgeshaped and pointed,” with the broad end somewhat wider than the edge of a pin." The oculist whom the plaintiff consulted testified that the pupil showed a small scar and circular brown stain which in his opinion were caused by a piece of steel or iron which he thought was rusty. On cross-examination he said that he had never seen a hot cinder leave such a stain. This evidence justified the conclusion that the particle was a piece of metal and not a cinder. The plaintiff's testimony and other testimony in the case tended to show that it came from the elevated railway and the fact that it was a piece of metal increased the probability that it did. He testified that he was go ing under the westerly side of the structure and heard the noise of a train passing overhead and then the particle got in his eye. He said that he thought that he had crossed the first track and was about to cross the second. Whether he meant the surface tracks or whether he meant that he had crossed under the first elevated track and was about to cross under the second is not plain and is not material. In either view it
. is clear that the particle got into his eye just as he was going under the elevated structure and as a train was passing overhead. And there was testimony tending to show that sparks had been frequently seen to fall in the general vicinity of the place of the accident when trains were in ordi. nary motion and that they sometimes fell in showers and reached the pavement. These circumstances rendered the inference that the particle came from the elevated railway a fair and reasonable one and warranted a finding to that effect. The time and place of the accident, the character of the particle, the fact that a train was passing overhead, and that sparks fell from trains in ordinary motion would lead naturally to the conclusion that the particle came from the railway. Whether it came from the brake
shoe or the contact-shoe or some other por tion of the structure is more difficult to determine. The oculist called by the plain. tiff testified that he thought that the scar and stain which he found in the plaintiff's eye were caused by a piece of rusty iron or steel and that while the stain might have been caused by a piece of metal hot enough to produce charred tissue, he found no charred tissue; which would tend to show that the particle came from some other portion of the structure. But the plaintiff testified that the oculist who examined his eye on be half of the defendant and who was not called by the defendant told him that there was a burn on the eye, which would tend to show that the particle came from the brake-shoe or the contact-shoe from both of which heated particles were thrown off though those from the contact-shoe were hotter than those from the brake-shoe and would therefore be more liable to cause a burn and scar than those from the brake-shoe. The direction in which the train was going was also important. There was evidence that it was going north, and if so, owing to the positions of the stations, there would have been no oCcasion to apply the brakes. The plaintiff could not tell which way it was going. But a companion who was with him testified th:11 it was going north; and though not willing to swear absolutely to it said that there was no doubt in his mind that it was going north, If the jury believed that the train was going north, then it would seem almost to follow that the particle could not have come from the brake-shoe. Moreover there was testimony tending to show that although there had been a good deal of trouble from the sparking of the contact-shoes, there had been no difficulty and no accidents to people underneath by reason of the brake-shoe sparks. Taking all of the circumstances into account it was competent for the jury to find, and the evidence fairly warranted them in finding that the particle came from the contact-shoe. The sti
strength and direction of the wind, the exact position of the plaintiff, and the inferences and conclusions to be drawn from these and the other facts in evidence were all for the jury. The plaintiff was not bound to exclude the possibility that the accident might have happened in some other way, but only to satisfy the jury by a fair preponderance of the evidence that it occurred in the manner in which he contended that it did. In McNeil v. Boston Elevated Railway, 187 Mass. 569, 73 N. E. 657, and Wadsworth v. Boston Elevated Railway Co., 182 Mass. 572, 66 N. E. 421, relied on by the defendant, there was nothing to remove the cause of the accident from the domain of conjecture. In this case though no one saw where the particle came from, the combination of circumstances was such as to warrant a finding, as already observed, that it came from the contact-shoe.
2. The defendant further contends, and
this is its principal defense, that the evi
fect, which certificate shall be filed in the
dence did not warrant a finding that there office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth,
was any negligence on its part in failing and thereupon said corporation shall be auto apply to the railroad commissioners. If thorized to operate said railway." Section 2 this defense fails then it still further con- of chapter 500 provides, so far as material, tends that there is nothing to show that that the "corporation may construct lines of the sparking could have been prevented by elevated railway according to such plans or the exercise of ordinary care and diligence, systems as the board of railroad commissionand that the accident was not therefore due ers may approve to be operated" etc. This to any negligence on its part.
is in amendment of the first paragraph of We assume in favor of the defendant that
section 6, c. 548, p. 502, acts of 1894. Section the effect of the answer to the second ques- 6, c. 500, provides, so far as material, that the tion is to show that the verdict was rendered corporation shall prepare and file with the on the ground that the defendant was negli- railroad commissioners “plans showing the gent in failing to apply to the railroad com- form and method proposed, and the proposed missioners, and that, if such an application location of the tracks, elevated structure and was not required, and there is nothing in stations" and the "board shall examine the any view of the case to warrant as matter of same with reference to the strength and safelaw such a finding, then the verdict must be ty of the structure and to the strength and set aside. The answer necessarily shows, we safety of any bridge traversed thereby and think, that the jury must have found that with reference to the rolling stock motive a pan was needed for the proper protection power and method of operation, and with of pedestrians and others having occasion reference to the convenience and comfort of to use the roadway underneath the elevated the public.
* When said construcstructure; otherwise there would have been tion plans are satisfactory to said board they no occasion for the defendant to apply to the shall give a certificate approving the same.” commissioners. Whether the sparking could The corporation is not to proceed with the have been prevented by the use of a differ- construction of the road till the certificate ent shoe or by different mode of adjust- | has been given and if the plans are not ment or both, the jury does not appear to satisfactory the board may require them to have decided; having been apparently con- be changed before giving its certificate, and tent with the conclusion that injury to pe- any structure erected in accordance with the destrians and others having occasion to use plans may be changed or modified by the the roadway could be avoided by the use of corporation with the consent of the board. a pan.
The effect of these various provisions is to The railroad commissioners approved the require the commissioners to approve the plans for the railway as constructed and gave plans before the railway can be constructed, the certificate required before it could be and to require, after the completion of the operated, and allowed it to continue as be- whole or part of it, a certificate from them fore after investigating the subject of spark- that it appears to be in a safe condition for ing. The defendant contends that the action operation before the corporation can operate of the commissioners is not reviewable by it. In examining the plans the commissioners the court or jury; that the effect of it is to are required to consider the strength and authorize the operation of the railway with- safety of the proposed structure, the rolling ont a pan, and, that, therefore, there could stock, motive power and method of proposed be no such thing as negligence on its part in operation, and the comfort and convenience failing to apply to them for approval of a of the public; and their judgment, in repan. The statutory provisions on which it spect to these matters, so far as they enter relies in support of this contention are to into their approval of the plans cannot be be found in section 18, c. 548, p. 767, Acts impeached or controlled. It cannot be shown, of 1894, and sections 2 and 6, C. 500, pp. for instance, that the railway is unlawfully 499, 502, Acts of 1897. The first is entitled maintained because the approval by the com"An act to incorporate the Boston Elevated missioners of the plans was due to a mistake Railway Company and to promote rapid tran- on their part if such was the fact, as to sit in the city of Boston and vicinity” and the strength and safety of the proposed the second is entitled "An act to promote structure, or the comfort and convenience of rapid transit in the city of Boston and vicin- the public. Their approval is conclusive on ity" and is in amendment of and in addition the right and authority of the corporation to to the first. Both acts must therefore be con- construct its railway as proposed and has strued together. Section 18 of chapter 548 the same effect as an authority conferred by provides in substance, so far as now material, the Legislature to construct it in the manner that when the railway or any portion has proposed would have. Taken in connection been completed, before it shall be open to with their certificate under section 18, c. 548, public use it shall be examined by the rail- that the railway appeared to have been conroad commissioners on the application of the structed in accordance with the plans and corporation and “if it appears to be in a appeared to be in a safe condition for operasafe condition for operation” the "board shall tion, it established the structure as a lawgive the corporation a certificate to that ef- ful structure and as lawfully maintained and
section 21, c. 500
, that the corporation shall tb
operated by the defendant. But neither the proval and certificate are, it seems to us, to approval of the plans by the commissioners be regarded as something more than advice nor their certificate of operation relieves the by the commissioners. They are in the nacorporation from liability in case any one ture of conditions precedent without which who would otherwise have a cause of ac- the defendant could not proceed to construct tion is injured by negligence on its part in or operate its railway, and for want of which the construction or operation of the railway. it could be restrained on the petition of any The test is not the approval or certificate of party interested from proceeding with the the commissioners any more than the notifi- construction or operation of its railway. St. cation of the superintendent of streets was in 1894, p. 768, c. 548, § 20. Osgood v. Lynn & Boston R. R., 130 Mass. Whether the defendant should, as matter of 492. In the absence of anything to exoner- law apply to the commissioners for their apate it, the corporation is still bound to exercise proval of a pan it is not necessary for us reasonable care and diligence in all matters now to decide. If a pan was reasonably relating to the construction and operation of necessary, as the jury according to our view its railway. It is expressly provided by have found was the case, then it was either c. ,
the duty of the defendant to apply to the be subject to all the duties, liabilities, and commissioners for their approval, or to prorestrictions set forth in general laws relating ceed to put up one without such approval. to street railway companies so far as applica-Chase v. Lowell, 151 Mass. 422, 24 N. E. 212. ble and the general laws relating to street It has done neither, and is consequently at railway companies make them liable for any fault if the evidence warranted the finding loss or injury which may be sustained by any that a pan was required. Without going into person in the management, use and construc- the evidence in detail, it seems to us that it tion of its tracks. Rev. Laws, c. 112, § 44. warranted such a finding. Assuming without The object of the Legislature in requiring deciding that the defendant had done as it the approval of the plans by and the cer- contends that it had, all that, in view of the tificate of operation from the railroad commis- state of knowledge on the subject when the sioners was to insure as far as might be by railway was constructed it could be reasonmeans of the preliminary investigations and ably required to do to prevent sparking, its examinations thus required the safety, and whole duty to safeguard the public from the comfort and convenience of the public. It dangers and injuries resulting from sparkwas not intended, we think, as already ob- ing was not thereby discharged. If there served to relieve the defendant from the was any appliance which, in the reasonable exercise of reasonable care and diligence in operation of its railway, could be used to inthe construction and operation of the railway. tercept the sparks or prevent them from If the approval of the plans by the commis- falling to the ground and injuring pedessioners and their certificate of operation are trians and others having occasion to use the not conclusive on the question of the exer- street below, it was its duty to avail itself cise of reasonable care and diligence by the thereof. It was not enough for it to do all defendant, manifestly the fact that the com- that could be reasonably required to prevent missioners had the matter of sparking under sparking (though we do not mean to intimate investigation and had made no recommenda- that it had done that); it was also bound to tion and taken no action except to cause an do all that it reasonably could, if it was investigation to be made cannot be held to
impossible to prevent sparking, to see that be conclusive. See, also, Hubbard v. B. & no one was injured by the sparks. Their A. R. R. Co., 162 Mass. 132, 38 N. E. 366. duty to exercise reasonable care to prevent
Moreover it is to be noted, that trouble injury to others extends to all particulars from sparking was not anticipated when the connected with the construction and operarailway was constructed, and therefore, the tion of the railway, and is not entirely dissafety of the structure with reference to charged even if satisfactorily performed as sparking could not have been included in the to some of those particulars. There was approval of the plans by the commissioners. evidence that it would have been feasible It is also to be noted, that the certificate re- to construct a trough or pan which would quired before the corporation can operate have prevented the falling of sparks upon the railway is a certificate that it appears to persons in the street, and that it was known be in a safe condition for operation, not that that there was a good deal of trouble from it is safe, thus leaving open the question of sparking after the road began operation safety with all the consequences involved. in June, 1901, but nothing was done to rem
The plaintiff contends that the approval edy it. This warranted a finding of negliand the certificate of the commissioners come gence on the part of the defendant. The under section 20, c. 111, Rev. Laws, which weight and credibility of the evidence and provides that no request or advice of the the inferences and conclusions to be drawn commissioners shall impair the legal obliga- from the testimony as a whole were of course tions of railroad corporations or relieve them for the jury. We see nothing to justify us from the consequences of negligence on the in setting aside the verdict and granting a part of their servants or agents. But the ap
Some questions of evidence are raised by the bill of exceptions but they have not been argued and we therefore treat them as waived.
(192 Mass. 423) WALSH Y. BOSTON ELEVATED RY. CO. (Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts.
Suffolk. June 21, 1906.) 1. STREET RAILROADS-ELEVATED RAILROAD
PEDESTRIAN ON STREET_FAILURE TO EXERCISE DUE CARE.
A pedestrian on a street does not, as a matter of law, fail to exercise due care because he looks up as a train is passing on the elevated track over the street. 2. SAME-NEGLIGENCE-QUESTION FOR JURY.
Whether an elevated railroad did all that could reasonably be required of it to prevent sparks from falling and injuring pedestrians on the street beneath was a question for the jury.
Exceptions from Superior Court, Suffolk County; Jabez Fox, Judge.
Action by one Walsh against the Boston Elevated Railway Company, for personal injuries received by plaintiff in consequence of a spark falling from the elevated structure into one of his eyes. There was a verdict for defendant, and plaintiff excepts. Exceptions sustained.
Jas. F. Creed and John J. Mansfield, for plaintiff. Endicott P. Saltonstall and San. ford H. E. Freund, for defendant.
taken, and held for such public use, it is not subject to taxation, in the absence of express statutory provision.
[Ed. Note.-For cases in point, see vol. 45, Cent. Dig. Taxation, $$ 279, 296.) 2. SAME-CHARACTER OF USE–TEST OF ExEMPTION.
The fact that a corporation empowered to exercise the right of eminent domain and to perform the public trust of furnishing water to the inhabitants of a town for domestic and other purposes is a corporation other than municipal is immaterial as respects its exemption from taxation, the true test being whether it is engaged in the administration of a public trust, with power to take land for that purpose; the character of the use to which the property is put, and not of the party using it, settlin: the question of such exemption.
[Ed. Note. For cases in point, see vol. 4. Cent. Dig. Taxation, 88 279, 296.] 3. SAME-TAKING LAND UNDER STATUTOR : PROCEEDINGS.
It is not material whether lånd taken by : corporation organized to administer a publi. trust, such as the furnishing of water to the inhabitants of a town, and to that end au thorized to exercise the power of eminent do main, be taken under statutory proceedings, as where the land could have been so taken, but by an agreement between the corporation and the landowner such proceedings were dispense with, and the title conveyed by deed, the land, so far as material to the question of exemption from taxation, is to be regarded as if taken by right of eminent domain. 4. SAME-ABATEMENT OF TAXES – PRACTICE.
Under Rev. Laws, c. 12, $ 73, providing that the assessors, if they find that an applicant for abatement is taxed at more than his just proportion or on an assessment of any of his property in excess of its fair cash value, may make a reasonable abatement, the question whether property of a corporation organized for the purpose of supplying the inhabitants of a town with water for domestic and other purposes is exempt from taxation may be determined on a petition by such corporation, following the language of the statute, for an abatement in whole of such taxes. 5. SAME-LISTING FOR ASSESSMENT-ESTUFPEL.
The fact that a corporation organized for the purpose of furnishing a town with water for domestic and other purposes includes in its list to the assessors land used by it as taxable property does not estop it from thereafter claiming that the land is not taxable.
[Ed. Note.-For cases in point, see vol. 45. Cent. Dig. Taxation, $ 562.]
Exceptions from Superior Court, Middle sex County; John H. Hardy, Judge.
Petition by the Milford Water Company for an abatement of taxes assessed on property in the town of Hopkinton. From the decision, petitioner brings exceptions. Ex ceptions sustained.
John R. Thayer, Arthur P. Rugg, Henry H. Thayer, and Wendell Williams, for petitioner. Chas. F. Choate, Jr., and Francis C. Pillior, for respondent.
MORTON, J. This case is governed by Woodall v. Boston Elerated Ry. Co., 78 N. E. 446. It cannot be said as matter of law that the plaintiff was not in the exercise of due care because he looked up as the train was passing overhead, or that there was no evidence which would warrant a jury in finding that the particles which got into his eye came from the train on the elevated railway. Whether the defendant did all that could reasonably be required of it to prevent sparks from falling and injuring pedestrians and others using the street beneath was a question under proper instructions for the jury. This and the other questions raised are considered in the case above referred to, and need to be further considered here
HAMMOND, J. The principal question is whether the real estate is exempt from taxation. The petitioner does not base the claim of exemption upon any express provision of statute, nor does it deny the power of the Legislature to tax the property. But it contends that the general provisions of our statutes for the taxation of real estate are not applicable where the estate is taken by right of eminent domain (or, being subject to be so taken, has been purchased) for a public purpose and is being used for that purpose.
The leading case upon this subject in our reports is Worcester v. Western R. R. Corp. 4 Metc. 564. The railroad company had been authorized to take a strip of land five rods wide and, in certain cases not here material, to a greater width), and to purchase such land outside of said strip as might be proper and necessary in carrying on the business for which it was incorporated. It was said by this court that it was manifest upon an inspection of the charter that “the establishment of that great thoroughfare is regarded as a public work established by public authority, intended for the public use and benefit," and it was held that to the extent of the land which the corporation could take by right of eminent domain the real estate of the corporation was exempt from
exempt from taxation SO long as used for the public purpose. It was further held that this was the limit of exemption. The rule thus laid down was approved in Boston & Main R. R. V. Cambridge, 8 Cush. 237. In Wayland v. County Com’rs, 4 Gray, 500, the same principle was applied where land situated in the town of Wayland had been taken by the city of Boston under St. 1846, p. 113, c. 167, for supplying the city with pure water. Thomas, J., in giving the opinion of the court says: “We think the question substantially settled by the decision of this court in the case of Worcester V Western Railroad."
The principle seems to be that where land is taken (or purchased when it could have been taken) and held for a public purpose, it shall be exempt from taxation in the absence of any express statutory provision to the contrary. It has been applied to a gravel pit owned by one city within the limits of another, and to land taken for highways. Somerville v. Waltham, 170 Mass. 160, 48 N. E. 1092; Lancy v. Boston, 186 Mass. 128, 71 N. E. 302, and cases cited; Boston v. B. & A. R. R., 170 Mass. 95, 49 N. E. 95, and cases cited. In the case last cited, Knowlton, J., said: “This exemption is not founded upon any express provision of any statute, but rests upon general principles of propriety, justice and expediency which are applicable alike to every kind of taxation."
The petitioner, the Milford Water Company, was incorporated "for the purpose of furnishing the inhabitants of Milford with pure water for the extinguishment of fires, and for domestic and other purposes"; and to that end was authorized to take, hold and convey the water of any spring or stream in Milford, and to take and hold by purchase or otherwise any land in the town of Milford or in the town of Hopkin
ton south of Granite street which might be proper and necessary. There was a provision in the act of incorporation providing that the town of Milford should have the right to purchase the corporate property, the price to be agreed upon by the parties or, failing an agreement, by three commissioners. St. 1881, p. 399, c. 77; St. 1882, p. 141, c. 188.
The use is public. As said by Thomas, J., in Wayland v. County Com’rs, ubi supra, “It would be difficult
to find any class of cases in which the right of eminent domain is more justly or wisely exercised than in provisions to supply our crowded towns and cities with pure water, provisions equally necessary to the health and the safety of the people." The petitioner was engaged in ministering to this use, and ' for this purpose it was empowered to take land by right of eminent domain. It could take land for no other purpose.
We do not understand the respondent town to deny that the real estate in question was held and used by the petitioners under its act of incorporation. If the estate had been held by the town of Milford, then the case would have been completely covered by the last case above cited.
It is true that by St. 1893, p. 987, c. 352 (now Rev. Laws, c. 12, § 10), it was provided in substance that although property held by a city or town in another city or town for the purpose of a water supply, it yielding no rent, should be exempt from taxation yet that the city or town so holding should pay to the city or town in which the land was situated a certain sum dependent upon the value of the land exclusive of buildings or other structures; yet it is manifest that this sum is not technically a tax, but simply a substitute for a tax. The principle of the decision in Wayland v. County Com’rs, ubi supra, is still the law of the commonwealth so far as respects the question of taxation.
It can make no difference that the party which is empowered to exercise the right of eminent domain and to perform this public trust is a corporation other than municipal. The true test is whether it is engaged in the administration of a public trust with power to take land for that purpose. It is the character of the use to which the property is put, and not of the party who uses it, that settles the question of exemption from taxation. Worcester V. Western R. R., ubi supra;
R., ubi supra; Wayland V. Count Com’rs, supra; Boston v. B. & A. R. R., 170 Mass. 95, 49 N. E. 95; Essex v. Salem, 153 Mass. 141, 26 N. E. 431. The case is clearly distinguishable from cases like Boston Water Power Co. v. Boston, 9 Metc. 199, and Commonwealth v. Lowell Gaslight Co., 12 Allen, 75. In the latter case Bigelow, C. J., in speaking of the contention that the defendant was a quasi public corporation like a turnpike or a railroad corporation, uses this language: "We fail