182 Mass. 310 (1902), Cameron v. New England Tel. & Tel. Co.

Citation182 Mass. 310, 65 N.E. 385
Opinion JudgeHOLMES, C.J.
Party NameCAMERON v. NEW ENGLAND TELEPHONE & telegraph co. (two cases).
Attorney[65 N.E. 386] Peters & Cole, for plaintiffs. Powers, Hall & Jones, for defendant.
Case DateNovember 25, 1902
CourtSupreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts

Page 310

182 Mass. 310 (1902)

65 N.E. 385

CAMERON

v.

NEW ENGLAND TELEPHONE & telegraph co. (two cases).

Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, Essex.

November 25, 1902

COUNSEL

[65 N.E. 386] Peters & Cole, for plaintiffs.

Powers, Hall & Jones, for defendant.

OPINION

HOLMES, C.J.

These are actions brought respectively by a woman for physical injuries and by her husband for loss of services by reason of the same injuries. It is not disputed that the woman was hurt in consequence of a biast of dynamite, exploded without warning near the house where she was sitting. It is admitted that she was using due care, and it is not argued that the defendant was not negligent in exploding the blast, if the consequences that followed can be attributed properly to the defendant as the responsible cause. The only ground of defence is that the accident was due solely to the internal operation of

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fright causing a fainting fit and a miscarriage, and that the case is within Spade v. Railroad Co., 168 Mass. 285, 47 N.E. 88, 38 L. R. A. 512, 60 Am. St. Rep. 393, White v. Sander, 168 Mass. 296, 47 N.E. 90, and Smith v. Cable Co., 174 Mass. 576, 55 N.E. 380, 47 L. R. A. 323, 75 Am. St. Rep. 374. The case is here on exceptions to a refusal to take the case from the jury, and to specific instructions with which we shall deal so far as they are pressed.

Our knowledge of the precise way in which the accident happened depends on the testimony of the female plaintiff alone. She stated repeatedly that she was sitting in a rocking chair, when there was an explosion and a jar, and the next thing that she remembered she found herself on the floor. There is no question that the jury might have found that the fall to the floor was the cause of her subsequent illness. Indeed that is the most probable view. On the foregoing facts alone we are not quite prepared to say that the jury might not have found further, however little likely under the other testimony in the case, that she was thrown from her chair. If so, of course there is no question that the verdict was justified. Moreover this view is not excluded by the fact that on cross-examination the witness stated that she tried to rise, or started to get up, and fell. Very likely there might be cases where justice to the defendant would require the court to accept a correction made by a witness on cross-examination as...

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