Benton v. Trs. of the City Hosp. of the City of Boston

CourtUnited States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
Writing for the CourtFIELD
Citation140 Mass. 13,1 N.E. 836
PartiesBENTON v. TRUSTEES OF THE CITY HOSPITAL OF THE CITY OF BOSTON.
Decision Date20 June 1885

140 Mass. 13
1 N.E. 836

BENTON
v.
TRUSTEES OF THE CITY HOSPITAL OF THE CITY OF BOSTON.

Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts.

Filed June 20, 1885.


This was an action of tort, to recover damages for personal injuries sustained by the plaintiff by falling down a flight of stairs in the city hospital of Boston, on account of the alleged unsafe condition of the board coverings of said stairs. The superior court ruled that the action could not be maintained under the circumstances, and directed a verdict for the defendants. The plaintiff appealed.


[140 Mass. 17]C.G. Keyes, for plaintiff.

T.M. Babson, for defendants.


FIELD, J.

If the trustees are regarded as the trustees of a public charity, then the case falls within the decision in McDonald v. Massachusetts General Hospital, 120 Mass. 432. There is no evidence of negligence

[1 N.E. 837]

on the part of the trustees as a corporation. There is evidence of negligence on the part of the superintendent, but there is no evidence that he was not a proper person to be appointed superintendent. But we think that this is a hospital maintained by the city, with such aid as may be derived from donations, and the dues received from paying patients, and that the trustees are, in a sense, managing agents only, in maintaining the hospital subject to the laws and to the ordinances of the city. The donations, if any are ever made, must be used according to the terms of the gift. The money appropriated by the city of Boston must be used according to the terms of the appropriation. The sums received from paying patients are by the ordinances to be “credited to the account of the hospital,” and are “used in support of the hospital.” All the funds are used for the purpose of maintaining the hospital in accordance with St.1858, c. 113. The corporation of the trustees of the city hospital of the city of Boston has, in fact, no property. St.1858, c. 113, is a special and not a general statute, and it is permissive and not imperative; but these distinctions do not render the city liable for negligence in the management of the hospital, as has been shown in Tindley v. Salem, 137 Mass. 171. The trustees are a body created for the performance of a duty which, under the authority of the statute, [140 Mass. 18]the city of Boston has assumed for the benefit of the public, and from the performance of which no profit or advantage is received either by the trustees or the city. The trustees are no more liable for the negligence of their...

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57 practice notes
  • Winters v. Jersey City
    • United States
    • New Jersey Superior Court – Appellate Division
    • July 28, 1972
    ...plaintiff might recover; and it was further pointed out that the principle of McDonald was affirmed in Benton v. Boston City Hospital, 140 Mass. 13, 1 N.E. 836 (1885), but that there the affirmance went on the ground of government immunity. However, it must be recognized that the opinion in......
  • Hagerman v. City of Seattle, 26220.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Washington
    • April 8, 1937
    ...Louisville, 214 Ky. 132, 282 S.W. 1071; Van Pelt v. Louisville, 257 Ky. 256, 77 S.W.(2d) 942; Benton v. Trustees of Boston City Hospital, 140 Mass. 13, 1 N.E. 836, 54 Am.Rep. 436; Young v. Worcester, 253 Mass. 481, 149 N.E. 204; Zummo v. Kansas City, 285 Mo. 222, 225 S.W. 934; Prichard v. B......
  • Roosen v. Peter Bent Brigham Hosp.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
    • February 28, 1920
    ...those which are held subject to the trust of maintaining the hospital.’ That decision was affirmed in Benton v. Boston City Hospital, 140 Mass. 13, 17, 1 N. E. 836,54 Am. Rep. 436, which, however, went on the ground that the defendant, although a corporation, was in truth but an agency of t......
  • City of Winona v. Botzet, 2,840
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • March 26, 1909
    ...v. Mayor, 62 N.Y. 160, 20 Am.Rep. 468; Ogg v. City of Lansing, 35 Iowa, 495, 14 Am.Rep. 499; Benton v. Trustees of Boston City Hospital, 140 Mass. 13, 1 N.E. 836, 54 Am.Rep. 436; Barbour v. City of Ellsworth, 67 Me. 294), the power to maintain and operate a fire department to protect its in......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
57 cases
  • Winters v. Jersey City
    • United States
    • New Jersey Superior Court – Appellate Division
    • July 28, 1972
    ...plaintiff might recover; and it was further pointed out that the principle of McDonald was affirmed in Benton v. Boston City Hospital, 140 Mass. 13, 1 N.E. 836 (1885), but that there the affirmance went on the ground of government immunity. However, it must be recognized that the opinion in......
  • Hagerman v. City of Seattle, 26220.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Washington
    • April 8, 1937
    ...Louisville, 214 Ky. 132, 282 S.W. 1071; Van Pelt v. Louisville, 257 Ky. 256, 77 S.W.(2d) 942; Benton v. Trustees of Boston City Hospital, 140 Mass. 13, 1 N.E. 836, 54 Am.Rep. 436; Young v. Worcester, 253 Mass. 481, 149 N.E. 204; Zummo v. Kansas City, 285 Mo. 222, 225 S.W. 934; Prichard v. B......
  • Roosen v. Peter Bent Brigham Hosp.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
    • February 28, 1920
    ...those which are held subject to the trust of maintaining the hospital.’ That decision was affirmed in Benton v. Boston City Hospital, 140 Mass. 13, 17, 1 N. E. 836,54 Am. Rep. 436, which, however, went on the ground that the defendant, although a corporation, was in truth but an agency of t......
  • City of Winona v. Botzet, 2,840
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • March 26, 1909
    ...v. Mayor, 62 N.Y. 160, 20 Am.Rep. 468; Ogg v. City of Lansing, 35 Iowa, 495, 14 Am.Rep. 499; Benton v. Trustees of Boston City Hospital, 140 Mass. 13, 1 N.E. 836, 54 Am.Rep. 436; Barbour v. City of Ellsworth, 67 Me. 294), the power to maintain and operate a fire department to protect its in......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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