Brodmerkle v. Gorolsky

Decision Date26 February 1936
PartiesBRODMERKLE v. GOROLSKY (two cases).
CourtUnited States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts Supreme Court


Exceptions from Superior Court, Worcester County; Fosdick, Judge.

Actions by Ruth Brodmerkle and by Theodore J. Brodmerkle against Chester A. Gorolsky. A verdict was directed for the defendant on the first count and the jury rendered a verdict for the defendant on the second count, and the plaintiffs bring exceptions.

Exceptions overruled.

F. P. Ryan and J. A. Barnes, Jr., both of Worcester, for plaintiffs.

D. F. Gay, of Worcester, for defendant.

QUA, Justice.

An automobile truck owned by the plaintiff Theodore J. Brodmerkle and driven by the plaintiff Ruth Brodmerkle became involved in a collision with an automobile driven by the defendant on Main street in the town of Lancaster.

The first count in each declaration is based upon alleged negligence of the defendant. In each case the judge directed a verdict for the defendant on the first count on the ground that the truck was not properly registered.

The plaintiff Theodore J. Brodmerkle, owner of the truck, lived in the southerly part of the town of Lancaster, at Lancaster Four Corners, which is about one and a half miles from the Lancaster post office and about two and a half miles from the Sterling post office and about three and a half miles from Sterling Junction. His mailing address was ‘Sterling Junction, R. F. D.’ He was ‘on the R. F. D., the rural free delivery from Sterling.’ The ‘registration’ as ‘introduced in evidence’ showed the owner's name and address as follows:

‘Name: Theodore J. Brodmerkle

‘Street: ________

‘City: Sterling, Mass.’

G.L.(Ter.Ed.) c. 90, § 2, requires that both the application and the certificate of registration shall contain ‘the name, place of residence and address of the applicant.’ This ‘puts each of these three mandates on the same footing.’ Crean v. Boston Elevated Railway Co. (Mass.) 198 N.E. 172. Under the terms of the statute, they apply both to the application and to the certificate. See Staley v. Wilbur, 258 Mass. 481, 155 N.E. 659. Each of these documents is an essential part of the legislative plan for the registration of motor vehicles. The object of that plan is to insure at all times easy identification of the vehicle and its owner. The application is the basis of the public record which remains open for inspection in the office of the registrar. The certificate (except in the case of a dealer) must accompany the vehicle for use on the road. G.L.(Ter.Ed.) c. 90, § 11. The applicant is himself the source of that which is contained in the application and he has ample opportunity to see to it that the certificate is also complete and correct.

The applicant did not live in Sterling. His true residence is not stated at all. From the practical standpoint of giving information which would make it easy to find the owner, the certificate was defective. Perhaps a letter addressed simply to Sterling would have reached him; but a...

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