164 Mass. 492 (1895), Griffin v. United Elec. Light Co.

Citation:164 Mass. 492, 41 N.E. 675
Opinion Judge:LATHROP, J.
Attorney:J.B. Carroll and W.H. McClintock, for plaintiff. Wm. H. Brooks, for defendant.
Case Date:October 19, 1895
Court:Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts

Page 492

164 Mass. 492 (1895)

41 N.E. 675




Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, Hampden.

October 19, 1895


Page 494

J.B. Carroll and W.H. McClintock, for plaintiff.

Wm. H. Brooks, for defendant.



This is an action of tort, for personal injuries sustained by the plaintiff by receiving an electrical shock from a wire of the defendant company. The plaintiff was a tinsmith, and was at work, with a fellow servant, placing a galvanized iron conductor on the rear of a building called the "American House." He was upon the ground, and his fellow servant was on a ladder

Page 493

near the roof of the building, which was about 22 feet from the ground. The wire from which the plaintiff received the shock ran along the wall of another building until it reached a point about 2 feet from a corner formed by this building with the American House, and then ran diagonally across the corner to the wall of the American House, at a point 8 or 10 feet from the same corner, where it entered a square iron block attached to the wall of the American House. This wire was about 12 feet from the ground. Six or 8 inches higher than this wire, and about 8 inches nearer to the building, another wire ran along, and went into the same box. The conductor was to be placed in the corner formed by the two buildings, for the purpose of carrying off water from a gutter under the eaves of the American House. We are of opinion that there was evidence for the jury that the plaintiff was in the exercise of due care. The jury might well have found, on the evidence, that the injury was caused by the pipe's coming in contact with a place on the wire where the insulating material had become worn off. It cannot be said, as matter of law, that this condition was so apparent to the plaintiff that he must have seen it, or ought to have seen it, although the accident happened in the forenoon. While an expert may consider it dangerous to touch any wire, unless he knows it to be a harmless one, there was evidence that the plaintiff was not an expert, and did not know that an electric light wire would do any hurt, or that electric light wires ran on the sides of buildings. The question of his due care was for the jury. Illingsworth v. Electric Light Co., 161 Mass. 583, 588, 37 N.E. 778.

We are of opinion, also, that there was evidence...

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