106 Mass. 282 (Mass. 1871), Huddleston v. Lowell Machine Shop

Citation:106 Mass. 282
Opinion Judge:Chapman, C. J.
Party Name:William Huddleston v. Lowell Machine Shop
Attorney:C. Cowley, for the plaintiff. T. H. Sweetser & J. F. McEvoy, for the defendants.
Court:Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
 
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Page 282

106 Mass. 282 (Mass. 1871)

William Huddleston

v.

Lowell Machine Shop

Supreme Court of Massachusetts, Middlesex

January, 1871

Page 283

Tort to recover for personal injuries caused by a defect in the floor of a room in the defendants' machine shop.

At the trial in this court, before Gray J., the plaintiff testified: "In February 1869 I was a watchman in the Lowell Machine Shop, and had been employed there for three or four years. At half past four every morning I had to slush the gears over the turbine wheel at one end of the room where the accident happened, and the main gears at the other end; and occasionally the gears of two pumps, one on each side of the room. On February 1, 1869, after slushing the gears over the wheel, I descended the steps which led to them, and was crossing the floor to slush the main gears. I took my usual path, the direct path to the main gears, and after I had proceeded about four or five feet from the bottom of the steps the plank of the floor gave way, and I went down as far as my hips, and injured my hip. The part tat gave way did not spring back; but whether it went down I cannot tell. The tail race was under it; but I did not know of this until I fell. I had the usual light, three gas burners, which gave a good light, and which I had lighted before beginning to slush the gears, one at each gear, and one hanging between the steps from the wheel and the pump on that side of the room. This light was convenient to the hole into which I slipped. You could pass under it. I cannot tell whether it was nearer or further from the wheel than the hole." On cross-examination, he testified: "I had been employed there as a watchman between one and two years, and had the same duties all the time as on the night of the accident. Among other duties, I had to clean up the floor with a shovel and broom; I put sawdust on, and cleaned it off once a week. The room is half as large as the court-room. I lighted the gas, and started the pumps, and then went to slush the gears. After slushing the gears and coming down the steps at the wheel, I went to slush the main gears. I had no intention to slush any other gears that morning, or to go anywhere before I slushed the main gears. The plank gave way under my foot. There was no hole under my foot; that I knew by my eyesight. I heard the plank crack, and felt the floor giving way. I generally cleaned the floor on Saturday or Sunday...

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