69 Me. 173 (Me. 1879), Parker v. Portland Pub. Co.

Citation:69 Me. 173
Opinion Judge:APPLETON, C. J.
Party Name:DWIGHT G. PARKER v. PORTLAND PUBLISHING COMPANY.
Attorney:S. C. Andrews, A. A. Strout & G. F. Holmes, for the plaintiff. T. B. Reed, for the defendant.
Judge Panel:WALTON, DANFORTH, PETERS and LIBBEY, JJ., concurred. VIRGIN, J., concurred in the result.
Case Date:February 07, 1879
Court:Supreme Judicial Court of Maine

Page 173

69 Me. 173 (Me. 1879)

DWIGHT G. PARKER

v.

PORTLAND PUBLISHING COMPANY.

Supreme Judicial Court of Maine.

February 7, 1879

ON EXCEPTIONS AND MOTION.

ACTION on the case for negligence.

Plea, general issue. Verdict for plaintiff for $4,000.

The facts, and so much of the bill of exceptions as are necessary to the understanding of the points decided, appear in the opinion.

S. C. Andrews, A. A. Strout & G. F. Holmes, for the plaintiff.

T. B. Reed, for the defendant.

APPLETON, C. J.

This is an action on the case for negligence.

The defendants had their counting room on Exchange street, on the lower floor. The editorial and composing rooms were on the second floor. At the head of the stairs is a hall, on the right hand is the door leading to defendants' rooms, and on the left is an elevator-way with folding doors.

Page 174

The plaintiff, as he alleges, on the 17th of September, 1875, between eleven and twelve o'clock at night, was proceeding to the defendants' rooms on the second floor, the counting room being closed, for the purpose of procuring the insertion of a notice in the newspaper published by them, when, there being no sufficient light in the hall, and the doors to the elevator way being left open, he fell down the elevator-way and was seriously injured.

The question for determination was whether there was negligence on the part of the defendants, at the time when and the place where the plaintiff sustained the injury for which he seeks compensation; not whether there was negligence at other times and under different conditions. If the defendants are liable, they are not liable for past neglects, when an injury might have occurred but did not. Nor do previous omissions of duty prove, or tend to prove, the particular neglect of which the plaintiff complains.

I. Evidence, embracing a period of two years, tending to show at different times the condition of the hall-way and entrance to the Press editorial and composing rooms, as to light--whether more or less, or none--of the position of the elevator gate and doors, of what had happened to other men at other times, and of their fortunate escape from peril, was received, notwithstanding the seasonable and strenuous objections of the defendants.

These facts were all collateral to the main issue, and should have been excluded, " and the reason is, that such evidence tends to draw away the minds of the jury from the point in issue, and to excite prejudice and mislead them; and, moreover, the adverse party, having no notice of such a course of evidence, is not prepared to rebut it." 1 Greenl. Ev., § 52. " It may be added, that the evidence not being to a material point, the witness could not be indicted for perjury if it were false." 1 Greenl. Ev., § 448.

It was immaterial to the issue whether, on some particular day or night previous to the plaintiff's injury, the gates to the elevator had been closed or not; whether there had been sufficient light in the hall or not, or whether some individual had or had not been exposed to injury and had escaped. If evidence of this character is receivable, contradictory proofs would be admissible, and there would be as many collateral issues as there were collateral facts and witnesses testifying to them.

Page 175

The entire weight of judicial authority is against the reception of the evidence received subject to objection. The attention of the jury would be diverted from the questions really in dispute, and directed to what is entirely collateral. Hubbard v. A. & K. Railroad Co., 39 Maine 506. Aldrich v. Pelham, 1 Gray 510. Kidder v. Dunstable, 11 Gray 342. Collins v. Dorchester, 6 Cush...

To continue reading

FREE SIGN UP
108 practice notes
  • 161 S.W. 1054 (Ark. 1913), St. Louis, Iron Mountain & Southern Railway Co. v. Thurman
    • United States
    • Arkansas Supreme Court of Arkansas
    • November 17, 1913
    ...the trial of the case, and six months after the accident occurred, and after the conditions of the track had been changed. 48 Ark. 473; 69 Me. 174; 38 Mich. 341. 3. Instruction 10, given at appellee's request, based presumably upon the lookout statute, has neither any allegation of the comp......
  • 91 Cal. 296, 14331, Barrett v. Southern Pacific Co.
    • United States
    • California Supreme Court of California
    • September 21, 1891
    ...R. Co ., 78 Ind. 323; 41 Am. Rep. 572; Pittsburg etc. R'y Co. v. Bingham, 29 Ohio St. 364; 23 Am. Rep. 751; Parker v. Portland Pub. Co ., 69 Me. 173; 31 Am. Rep. 262; Chicago etc. Co. v. McLaughlin , 47 Ill. 265; Baltimore etc. Co. v. Schwindling , 101 Pa. St. 258; 47 Am. Rep. 706; Gay v. W......
  • 417 A.2d 982 (Me. 1980), Simon v. Town of Kennebunkport
    • United States
    • Maine Supreme Judicial Court of Maine
    • August 6, 1980
    ...the adverse party, having no notice of such a course of evidence, is not prepared to rebut it.' " Parker v. Portland Publishing Co., 69 Me. 173, 174 (1879), quoting 1 S. Greenleaf, Evidence § 52 (13th ed. J. May rev. 1876); e. g., Torrey v. Congress Square Hotel Co., 145 Me. 234, 240-4......
  • 120 S.W. 1 (Mo. 1909), Glaser v. Rothschild
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court of Missouri
    • June 8, 1909
    ...136; Evansville v. Griffin, 100 Ind. 221; Severy v. Nickerson, 120 Mass. 306; Sweeny v. Railroad, 92 Mass. 372; Parker v. Publishing Co., 69 Me. 173; Faris v. Hoburg, 134 Ind. 269; Pierce v. Whitcomb, 48 Vt. 127; Glaser v. Rothschild, 106 Mo.App. 418; Metcalf v. Cunard, 147 Mass. 66. The co......
  • Free signup to view additional results
108 cases
  • 161 S.W. 1054 (Ark. 1913), St. Louis, Iron Mountain & Southern Railway Co. v. Thurman
    • United States
    • Arkansas Supreme Court of Arkansas
    • November 17, 1913
    ...the trial of the case, and six months after the accident occurred, and after the conditions of the track had been changed. 48 Ark. 473; 69 Me. 174; 38 Mich. 341. 3. Instruction 10, given at appellee's request, based presumably upon the lookout statute, has neither any allegation of the comp......
  • 91 Cal. 296, 14331, Barrett v. Southern Pacific Co.
    • United States
    • California Supreme Court of California
    • September 21, 1891
    ...R. Co ., 78 Ind. 323; 41 Am. Rep. 572; Pittsburg etc. R'y Co. v. Bingham, 29 Ohio St. 364; 23 Am. Rep. 751; Parker v. Portland Pub. Co ., 69 Me. 173; 31 Am. Rep. 262; Chicago etc. Co. v. McLaughlin , 47 Ill. 265; Baltimore etc. Co. v. Schwindling , 101 Pa. St. 258; 47 Am. Rep. 706; Gay v. W......
  • 417 A.2d 982 (Me. 1980), Simon v. Town of Kennebunkport
    • United States
    • Maine Supreme Judicial Court of Maine
    • August 6, 1980
    ...the adverse party, having no notice of such a course of evidence, is not prepared to rebut it.' " Parker v. Portland Publishing Co., 69 Me. 173, 174 (1879), quoting 1 S. Greenleaf, Evidence § 52 (13th ed. J. May rev. 1876); e. g., Torrey v. Congress Square Hotel Co., 145 Me. 234, 240-4......
  • 120 S.W. 1 (Mo. 1909), Glaser v. Rothschild
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court of Missouri
    • June 8, 1909
    ...136; Evansville v. Griffin, 100 Ind. 221; Severy v. Nickerson, 120 Mass. 306; Sweeny v. Railroad, 92 Mass. 372; Parker v. Publishing Co., 69 Me. 173; Faris v. Hoburg, 134 Ind. 269; Pierce v. Whitcomb, 48 Vt. 127; Glaser v. Rothschild, 106 Mo.App. 418; Metcalf v. Cunard, 147 Mass. 66. The co......
  • Free signup to view additional results