Birmingham Waterworks Co. v. Wilson

CourtAlabama Court of Appeals
Writing for the Court[2 Ala.App. 582] PELHAM, J. PER CURIAM.
PartiesBIRMINGHAM WATERWORKS CO. v. WILSON.
Decision Date20 April 1911

56 So. 760

2 Ala.App. 581

BIRMINGHAM WATERWORKS CO.
v.
WILSON.

Court of Appeals of Alabama

April 20, 1911


On Application for Rehearing, December 14, 1911.

Appeal from City Court of Birmingham; C. W. Ferguson, Judge.

Action by C. W. Wilson against the Birmingham Waterworks Company. Judgment for plaintiff, and defendant appeals. Reversed and remanded.

London & Fitts, for appellant.

Bowman, Harsh & Beddow, for appellee.

[2 Ala.App. 582] PELHAM, J.

Although a number of assignments of error are made, all of those insisted upon, except as to the question of excessive damages raised on the motion for a new trial, go to the right of the appellee (the plaintiff below) to recover of the appellant (the defendant below) exemplary, punitive, or vindictive damages. The question is presented by appellant in different forms: First, by exceptions reserved to certain parts of the oral charge of the court submitting to [56 So. 761] the jury the right to award appellee exemplary or punitive damages; second, by exceptions reserved to the refusal of the trial court to give charges requested in writing by the appellant to the effect that appellee was not entitled to recover such damages; and, third, by exceptions reserved to the court's refusal to give the general affirmative charge as to that count of the complaint seeking to recover punitive, exemplary, or vindictive damages.

The plaintiff (below) was a customer of the defendant (below) water company, in the sense that the water company, as a public service corporation, was furnishing the plaintiff water for domestic purposes. In February, 1909, the plaintiff's supply of water at his home in Ensley was turned off by the agents or employés of the defendant company, notwithstanding he had previously paid for water service for the first quarter of that year, or the months of January, February, and March of the year 1909. These facts are not seriously disputed, and show a wrong inflicted upon the plaintiff through the defendant's negligence. Was the defendant's negligence of such a degree as to entitle plaintiff to have the question of awarding punitive, exemplary, or vindictive damages submitted to the jury?

The plaintiff testified that about the second or third day after the water supply was turned off he called up [2 Ala.App. 583] the defendant company's office over the telephone, gave the number of his meter, and inquired if they had ordered the water cut off, and was informed they had. Upon inquiring the reason, plaintiff was informed he would have to pay the water rent to get it turned on. To this plaintiff replied he had paid the rent, and owed nothing on that account. The water was not turned on, and about three or four days later plaintiff again called the company's office, over the telephone, and talked with the manager, a Mr. Foster, telling him of the inconvenience of having to carry water from some distance to his home. The manager, Foster, called to some of the office force, and had the books examined, and stated the books of the company showed the plaintiff's water rent for the quarter in question had not been paid. The plaintiff informed the manager in this conversation over the telephone that his water rent was paid, and he was not responsible for the books failing to show it, and the defendant's employé or officer closed the conversation by "hanging up" the telephone. The water was not turned on plaintiff's premises, and no further complaint was made until four or five days after this second conversation, when plaintiff again called the defendant's office over the telephone, and talked with some one in the office, who,...

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6 practice notes
  • Kelite Products v. Binzel, No. 15258.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • June 15, 1955
    ...recent case of Alabama Power Co. v. Dunlap, supra, the court said, 200 So. at page 621: "In Birmingham Water Works Company v. Wilson, 2 Ala.App. 581, 56 So. 760, a suit for wrongful discontinuance of plaintiff's water supply, the language of Mr. Chief Justice Stone was quoted with approval ......
  • Birmingham Elec. Co. v. Bailey, 6 Div. 968.
    • United States
    • Alabama Court of Appeals
    • August 10, 1943
    ...or exemplary--that is, punitive--damages are recoverable. Wilkinson v. Searcy, 76 Ala. 176; Birmingham Waterworks Co. v. Wilson, 2 Ala.App. 581, 56 So. 760; Bowles v. Lowery, 5 Ala.App. 555, 59 So. 696; Snedecor v. Pope, 143 Ala. 275, 39 So. 318; 7 Ala.Dig., Damages, k89(1); 25 C.J.S., Dama......
  • Alabama Power Co. v. Dunlap, 6 Div. 814.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Alabama
    • February 27, 1941
    ...duly requested the court in writing for the affirmative charge as to the wanton count two. In Birmingham Water Company v. Wilson, 2 Ala.App. 581, 56 So. 760, a suit for wrongful discontinuance of plaintiff's water supply, the language of Mr. Chief Justice Stone was quoted with approval from......
  • Edwards v. Massingill
    • United States
    • Alabama Court of Appeals
    • January 9, 1912
    ...case in refusing the general charge requested in writing by appellant on the first count of the complaint. B'ham Water Wks. Co. v. Wilson, 56 So. 760, present term; Snedecor v. Pope, 143 Ala. 275, 39 So. 318; B. R. L. & P. Co. v. Brown, 150 Ala. 327, 43 So. 342; Peters v. So. Ry. Co., 135 A......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
6 cases
  • Kelite Products v. Binzel, No. 15258.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • June 15, 1955
    ...recent case of Alabama Power Co. v. Dunlap, supra, the court said, 200 So. at page 621: "In Birmingham Water Works Company v. Wilson, 2 Ala.App. 581, 56 So. 760, a suit for wrongful discontinuance of plaintiff's water supply, the language of Mr. Chief Justice Stone was quoted with approval ......
  • Birmingham Elec. Co. v. Bailey, 6 Div. 968.
    • United States
    • Alabama Court of Appeals
    • August 10, 1943
    ...or exemplary--that is, punitive--damages are recoverable. Wilkinson v. Searcy, 76 Ala. 176; Birmingham Waterworks Co. v. Wilson, 2 Ala.App. 581, 56 So. 760; Bowles v. Lowery, 5 Ala.App. 555, 59 So. 696; Snedecor v. Pope, 143 Ala. 275, 39 So. 318; 7 Ala.Dig., Damages, k89(1); 25 C.J.S., Dama......
  • Alabama Power Co. v. Dunlap, 6 Div. 814.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Alabama
    • February 27, 1941
    ...duly requested the court in writing for the affirmative charge as to the wanton count two. In Birmingham Water Company v. Wilson, 2 Ala.App. 581, 56 So. 760, a suit for wrongful discontinuance of plaintiff's water supply, the language of Mr. Chief Justice Stone was quoted with approval from......
  • Edwards v. Massingill
    • United States
    • Alabama Court of Appeals
    • January 9, 1912
    ...case in refusing the general charge requested in writing by appellant on the first count of the complaint. B'ham Water Wks. Co. v. Wilson, 56 So. 760, present term; Snedecor v. Pope, 143 Ala. 275, 39 So. 318; B. R. L. & P. Co. v. Brown, 150 Ala. 327, 43 So. 342; Peters v. So. Ry. Co., 135 A......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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