49 A.2d 65 (Me. 1946), Tibbetts v. Central Maine Power Co.

Citation49 A.2d 65, 142 Me. 190
Opinion JudgeTOMPKINS, Justice.
Party NameTIBBETTS v. CENTRAL MAINE POWER CO.
Attorney[142 Me. 191] Ralph A. Gallagher, of Damariscotta, and Reginald H. Harris, of Boothbay Harbor, for plaintiff. Perkins, Weeks & Hutchins, of Waterville, William H. Dunham, of Augusta, and Charles M. Giles, of Damariscotta, for defendant.
Judge PanelBefore STURGIS, C. J., and THAXTER, HUDSON, MURCHIE, TOMPKINS, and FELLOWS, JJ.
Case DateSeptember 28, 1946
CourtSupreme Judicial Court of Maine

Page 65

49 A.2d 65 (Me. 1946)

142 Me. 190

TIBBETTS

v.

CENTRAL MAINE POWER CO.

Supreme Judicial Court of Maine.

September 28, 1946

[142 Me. 191] Ralph A. Gallagher, of Damariscotta, and Reginald H. Harris, of Boothbay Harbor, for plaintiff.

Perkins, Weeks & Hutchins, of Waterville, William H. Dunham, of Augusta, and Charles M. Giles, of Damariscotta, for defendant.

Before STURGIS, C. J., and THAXTER, HUDSON, MURCHIE, TOMPKINS, and FELLOWS, JJ.

TOMPKINS, Justice.

Action on the case to recover damages for the destruction of the plaintiff's dwelling house by fire. The plaintiff in his writ set forth three counts for negligence, (1) alleging failure of the defendant to repair or replace defective wires after notice, (2) failure of the defendant to disconnect or shut off the power in the defective wires after notice, and (3) negligence of the defendant in attaching wires to the limb of an apple tree in a place exposed to storm. The defendant pleaded the general issue. Trial by jury.

The third count in the plaintiff's writ was eliminated from the consideration of the jury.

The plaintiff was under guardianship at the time of the bringing of the action and at the time of the trial. Maud Bernice Tibbetts, wife of the plaintiff, was the duly qualified guardian. The defendant is a public utility corporation engaged in the business of furnishing electricity for light and power.

After the close of all the testimony the defendant moved for a [142 Me. 192] directed verdict, which motion the presiding Justice denied, to which denial the defendant seasonably excepted. After verdict for plaintiff, defendant filed a general motion for a new trial. The motion raises the same question for consideration as does the exception. Symonds v. Free Street Corporation, 135 Me. 501, 200 A. 801, 117 A.L.R. 986. Inhabitants of Fort Fairfield v. Inhabitants of Millinocket, 136 Me. 426, 12 A.2d 173. We shall consider only the motion for a new trial.

The defendant does not press the contention that the damages were unduly excessive as ground for a new trial. In

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considering a motion for a new trial the evidence must be viewed in the light most favorable to the successful party. The defendant has the burden of proving that the jury verdict is manifestly wrong. Marr v. Hicks, 136 Me. 33, 1 A.2d 271; Dube v. Sherman, 135 Me. 144, 190 A. 809; Cameron v. Lewiston, Brunswick & Bath Street Railway, 103 Me. 482, 70 A. 534, 8 L.R.A.,N.S., 497, 125 Am.St.Rep. 315. The plaintiff does not rely upon the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur. 'To entitle the plaintiff to recover he must show, first, that the defendant was guilty of negligence; the injury itself does not import negligence.' Consequently he must show that the defendant's negligence caused the injury. 'There must be a visible connection of cause and effect. It is not enough to show that the defendant's negligence was adequate and sufficient to cause it--that it might have caused it--he must show that it did cause it; that it was the preponderating, efficient cause of the injury.' Lesan v. Maine Central Railroad Co., 77 Me. 85.

The plaintiff was the owner in fee of the dwelling house alleged to have been destroyed by the defendant's negligence. The house was located at Christmas Cove in South Bristol, Lincoln County. The structure consisted of the main house, the ell, and the annex to the ell some 10 X 13 feet in length and breadth, and between eight and nine feet high, with a flat roof. The latter structure is referred to in the testimony as the washroom, the laundry, or the little ell. The entire set of buildings was constructed of wood and painted. With the exception of the laundry the structure had been built about 75 years. The fire that destroyed the buildings was first discovered by the witness Theodore H. Eaton between[142 Me. 193] 3 and 4 o'clock in the morning of September 19, 1944. According to the testimony of Mrs. Tibbetts, the guardian, the building had been vacant from the very last of August 1944 up to the time of the fire. Up to the last of August it had been occupied by summer tenants. The house was heated by an open fireplace and one or two stoves.

The 110 volt, two wire service that...

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5 practice notes
  • 49 A.2d 70 (Me. 1946), Petition of Kimball
    • United States
    • Maine Supreme Judicial Court of Maine (US)
    • September 28, 1946
    ...accepted against the objection of the trustee. It follows necessarily that their decision could not have been used as the foundation for a [142 Me. 190] decree over such objection. Thompson, Appellant, 114 Me. 338, 96 A. 238, L.R.A.1918A, 911, suggests that the trustee might have changed hi......
  • 247 A.2d 108 (Me. 1968), Scammon v. City of Saco
    • United States
    • Maine Supreme Judicial Court of Maine (US)
    • October 21, 1968
    ...all proper inferences drawn from it is to be taken in the light most favorable to the plaintiffs. Tibbetts v. Central Maine Power Company, 142 Me. 190, 49 A.2d 65 (1946). The jury could properly have found as follows: At about nine o'clock in the evening of April 22, 1965, the two plaintiff......
  • 86 A.2d 160 (Me. 1952), Unobskey v. Continental Ins. Co.
    • United States
    • Maine Supreme Judicial Court of Maine (US)
    • January 31, 1952
    ...be based on conjecture. Texas Gulf Sulphur Co. v. Portland Gas Light Co., 135 Me. 408, 198 A. 606; Tibbetts v. Central Main Power Co., 142 Me. 190, 49 A.2d 65. If we should assume (which the submitted proof does not warrant) that the door was broken by combined force of wind and water and t......
  • 115 A.2d 722 (Me. 1955), Wright v. Bubar
    • United States
    • Maine Supreme Judicial Court of Maine (US)
    • July 1, 1955
    ...exception to the refusal to direct a verdict for the defendant and the motion for a new trial. Tibbetts v. Central Maine Power Co., 1946, 142 Me. 190, 49 A.2d 65. The basic question in our view of the case is whether the jury could properly find that [151 Me. 90] the defendant's wife was au......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
5 cases
  • 49 A.2d 70 (Me. 1946), Petition of Kimball
    • United States
    • Maine Supreme Judicial Court of Maine
    • September 28, 1946
    ...accepted against the objection of the trustee. It follows necessarily that their decision could not have been used as the foundation for a [142 Me. 190] decree over such objection. Thompson, Appellant, 114 Me. 338, 96 A. 238, L.R.A.1918A, 911, suggests that the trustee might have changed hi......
  • 247 A.2d 108 (Me. 1968), Scammon v. City of Saco
    • United States
    • Maine Supreme Judicial Court of Maine
    • October 21, 1968
    ...all proper inferences drawn from it is to be taken in the light most favorable to the plaintiffs. Tibbetts v. Central Maine Power Company, 142 Me. 190, 49 A.2d 65 (1946). The jury could properly have found as follows: At about nine o'clock in the evening of April 22, 1965, the two plaintiff......
  • 86 A.2d 160 (Me. 1952), Unobskey v. Continental Ins. Co.
    • United States
    • Maine Supreme Judicial Court of Maine
    • January 31, 1952
    ...be based on conjecture. Texas Gulf Sulphur Co. v. Portland Gas Light Co., 135 Me. 408, 198 A. 606; Tibbetts v. Central Main Power Co., 142 Me. 190, 49 A.2d 65. If we should assume (which the submitted proof does not warrant) that the door was broken by combined force of wind and water and t......
  • 115 A.2d 722 (Me. 1955), Wright v. Bubar
    • United States
    • Maine Supreme Judicial Court of Maine
    • July 1, 1955
    ...exception to the refusal to direct a verdict for the defendant and the motion for a new trial. Tibbetts v. Central Maine Power Co., 1946, 142 Me. 190, 49 A.2d 65. The basic question in our view of the case is whether the jury could properly find that [151 Me. 90] the defendant's wife was au......
  • Request a trial to view additional results