174 Mass. 576 (1899), Smith v. Postal Tel. Cable Co.

Citation174 Mass. 576, 55 N.E. 380
Opinion JudgeHOLMES, C.J.
Party NameSMITH v. POSTAL TEL. CABLE CO.
Attorney[55 N.E. 380] E. T. McCarthy, for appellant. R. F. Sturgis, for appellee.
Case DateNovember 29, 1899
CourtSupreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts

Page 576

174 Mass. 576 (1899)

55 N.E. 380

SMITH

v.

POSTAL TEL. CABLE CO.

Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, Essex.

November 29, 1899

COUNSEL

Page 577

[55 N.E. 380] E. T. McCarthy, for appellant.

R. F. Sturgis, for appellee.

OPINION

HOLMES, C.J.

The point decided in Spade v. Railroad Co., 168 Mass. 285, 47 N.E. 88, 38 L. R. A. 512, and White v. Sander, 168 Mass. 296, 47 N.E. 90, is not put as a logical deduction from the general principles of

Page 578

liability in tort, but as a limitation of those principles upon purely practical grounds. See, further, Spade v. Railroad Co., 172 Mass. 488, 52 N.E. 747, and Silsbee v. Webber, 171 Mass. 378, 380, 381, 50 N.E. 555. If the rule is to be adhered to that there can be no recovery for sickness due to the purely internal operation of fright caused by a negligent act. it cannot be avoided by calling the negligence [55 N.E. 381] gross, and alleging that the defendant ought to have known that the result complained of would follow his act. Negligence with reference to a given consequence means that the consequence ought to have been foreseen; and, although the distinction between gross negligence and negligence is known to the law, still, having regard to the grounds for the above-mentioned rule, to allow it to be avoided by such an allegation would be to do away with it. The decisions leave open the question whether, if the harm to the plaintiff was actually foreseen and intended, that would make a difference. It is possible that in some cases motive and actual intent would be more considered in this commonwealth than they would be in...

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26 practice notes
  • 21 A.2d 402 (Conn. 1941), Orlo v. Connecticut Co.
    • United States
    • Connecticut Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • July 22, 1941
    ...in tort, but [is] a limitation of those principles upon purely practical grounds'; Holmes, C.J., in Smith v. Postal Telegraph Co., 174 Mass. 576, 577, 55 N.E. 380,47 L.R.A. 323, 75 Am.St.Rep. 374; it is a matter of ‘ administrative policy’ in the particular jurisdiction. Caveat to Restateme......
  • 268 N.W. 873 (N.D. 1936), 6421, Jacobs v. Nelson
    • United States
    • North Dakota Supreme Court of North Dakota
    • July 29, 1936
    ...of gross negligence. The term "gross negligence" consists of the two words. As pointed out in Smith v. Postal Teleg. Cable Co. 174 Mass. 576, 55 N.E. 380, 381, 47 L.R.A. 323, 75 Am. St. Rep. 374, "negligence with reference to a given consequence means that the consequence oug......
  • 257 N.Y. 231, Comstock v. Wilson
    • United States
    • New York New York Court of Appeals
    • July 15, 1931
    ...illness resulting from nervous shock alone. (Spade v. Lynn & Boston R. R., 168 Mass. 285, 288; Smith v. Postal Telegraph Cable Co., 174 Mass. 576.)But when there has been a battery and the nervous shock results from the same wrongful management as the battery, it is at least equally imp......
  • 166 S.E. 550 (Va. 1932), Bowles v. May
    • United States
    • Virginia Supreme Court of Virginia
    • November 17, 1932
    ...Spade v. Lynn, etc., R. Co., 168 Mass. 285, 288, 47 N.E. 88,38 L.R.A. 512, 60 Am.St.Rep. 393, 395; Smith v. Postal Telegraph Cable Co., 174 Mass. 576, 55 N.E. 380,47 L.R.A. 323, 327,75 Am.St.Rep. 374. But when there has been a battery and the nervous shock results from the same wrongful man......
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26 cases
  • 21 A.2d 402 (Conn. 1941), Orlo v. Connecticut Co.
    • United States
    • Connecticut Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • July 22, 1941
    ...in tort, but [is] a limitation of those principles upon purely practical grounds'; Holmes, C.J., in Smith v. Postal Telegraph Co., 174 Mass. 576, 577, 55 N.E. 380,47 L.R.A. 323, 75 Am.St.Rep. 374; it is a matter of ‘ administrative policy’ in the particular jurisdiction. Caveat to Restateme......
  • 268 N.W. 873 (N.D. 1936), 6421, Jacobs v. Nelson
    • United States
    • North Dakota Supreme Court of North Dakota
    • July 29, 1936
    ...of gross negligence. The term "gross negligence" consists of the two words. As pointed out in Smith v. Postal Teleg. Cable Co. 174 Mass. 576, 55 N.E. 380, 381, 47 L.R.A. 323, 75 Am. St. Rep. 374, "negligence with reference to a given consequence means that the consequence oug......
  • 257 N.Y. 231, Comstock v. Wilson
    • United States
    • New York New York Court of Appeals
    • July 15, 1931
    ...illness resulting from nervous shock alone. (Spade v. Lynn & Boston R. R., 168 Mass. 285, 288; Smith v. Postal Telegraph Cable Co., 174 Mass. 576.)But when there has been a battery and the nervous shock results from the same wrongful management as the battery, it is at least equally imp......
  • 166 S.E. 550 (Va. 1932), Bowles v. May
    • United States
    • Virginia Supreme Court of Virginia
    • November 17, 1932
    ...Spade v. Lynn, etc., R. Co., 168 Mass. 285, 288, 47 N.E. 88,38 L.R.A. 512, 60 Am.St.Rep. 393, 395; Smith v. Postal Telegraph Cable Co., 174 Mass. 576, 55 N.E. 380,47 L.R.A. 323, 327,75 Am.St.Rep. 374. But when there has been a battery and the nervous shock results from the same wrongful man......
  • Request a trial to view additional results