Chase v. New Haven Waste Material Corp.

CourtConnecticut Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtWHEELER, C.J.
Citation111 Conn. 377,150 A. 107
PartiesCHASE v. NEW HAVEN WASTE MATERIAL CORPORATION.
Decision Date30 April 1930

150 A. 107

111 Conn. 377

CHASE
v.
NEW HAVEN WASTE MATERIAL CORPORATION.

Supreme Court of Errors of Connecticut.

April 30, 1930


Appeal from Superior Court, New Haven County; Arthur F. Ells, Judge.

Action by Sidney Chase, suing by his next friend and mother, against the New Haven Waste Material Corporation to recover damages for injuries alleged to have been caused by the negligence of the defendant. Judgment for defendant after demurrer to complaint was sustained, plaintiff neglecting and refusing to plead further, and plaintiff appeals.

Error, judgment reversed, and case remanded with directions.

Master is responsible for injuries caused by his servant acting in employment from which benefit is expected.

[111 Conn. 378] Israel J. Jacobs and James F. Rosen, both of New Haven, for appellant.

William L. Hadden, David E. Fitzgerald, Jr., and David E. Fitzgerald, all of New Haven, for appellee.

Argued before WHEELER, C.J., and MALTBIE, HAINES, HINMAN, and BANKS, JJ.

WHEELER, C.J.

The complaint alleged these facts: The plaintiff, a child of eight, lived in the house in the front of the yard occupied by the defendant in transacting its business and was in the habit of playing daily with other children in this yard. While so playing, he was knocked down and severely and permanently injured by a truck of defendant while being driven by its manager and agent, the father of the plaintiff, and backed into the yard in the regular course of his employment. The accident was due to the negligence of the driver in operating the truck without having it properly under control and without keeping a proper lookout for children playing in the yard, although he saw and knew they were so playing.

The defendant demurred to the complaint because: (1) The action was founded on the negligent acts of the driver of the truck, the father of the plaintiff minor, and cannot be maintained by him for his parent's tortious acts; (2) it does not appear from the complaint that the minor either at the time he suffered his [111 Conn. 379] injuries or at the time this action was started was emancipated from his parent. The court ruled that as an unemancipated child cannot recover from his father for negligence and the defendant corporation must act through agents, its liability for their acts is purely derivative, and based on the liability of the servant who committed the act, and if it has to pay for its servant's negligence it can recover over from him.

The first question raised by the demurrer is that the action will not lie because founded upon the father's tortious acts. The rule of respondeat superior makes one responsible for the act of his servant when the servant's act was a wrong to the other and was done by him when he was engaged in doing something in the line of his service or incidental to it. Dean Smith writes in his article, Frolic and Detour, 23 Col. L. R. 452, that, " No legal doctrine has been so generally criticised and yet so generally adhered to by courts as the doctrine of respondeat superior." The limitation of the master's responsibility to wrongful acts of the servant while doing his master's business is at the base of our characterization of the doctrine of respondeat superior as one of universal justice. Differing reasons have been given for this doctrine; we are not in doubt, we hold that the doctrine is bottomed upon a rule of public policy and social justice. " On the whole," we say, " substantial...

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46 practice notes
  • Dzenutis v. Dzenutis, No. 12817
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • July 1, 1986
    ...parent whose negligence in the course of his employment caused the child to be injured; Chase v. New Haven Waste Material Corporation, 111 Conn. 377, 380, 150 A. 107 (1930); 2 by a [200 Conn. 294] mother against Page 133 her husband based upon the negligence of their minor son in operating ......
  • Gibson v. Gibson
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • January 25, 1971
    ...145, 16 N.E.2d 636; Mi-Lady Cleaners v. McDaniel (1938) 235 Ala. 469, 179 So. 908; Chase v. New Haven Waste Material Corporation (1930) 111 Conn. 377, 150 A. 107.) Although purporting to distinguish the situation of a negligence action directly against a living parent, such cases probably r......
  • Karam v. Allstate Ins. Co., No. 81-958
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Ohio
    • June 23, 1982
    ...Mi-Lady Cleaners v. McDaniel (1938), 235 Ala. 469 (179 So. 908, 116 A.L.R. 639); Chase v. New Haven Waste Material Corporation (1930), 111 Conn. 377 (150 A. 107, 68 A.L.R. 3 The identifiable reason for only partial abrogation of the rule is a general consensus of opinion that certain areas ......
  • Lastowski v. Norge Coin-O-Matic, Inc., COIN-O-MATI
    • United States
    • New York Supreme Court Appellate Division
    • April 8, 1974
    ...cases makes such a claim-over unlikely, the existence of the right illustrates the point (see Chase v. New Haven Waste Material Corp., 111 Conn. 377, 150 A. 107; Briggs v. City of Philadelphia, 112 Pa.Super. 50, 170 A. 871; Winnick v. Kupperman Constr. Co., 29 A.D.2d 261, 287 N.Y.S.2d 329; ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
46 cases
  • Dzenutis v. Dzenutis, No. 12817
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • July 1, 1986
    ...parent whose negligence in the course of his employment caused the child to be injured; Chase v. New Haven Waste Material Corporation, 111 Conn. 377, 380, 150 A. 107 (1930); 2 by a [200 Conn. 294] mother against Page 133 her husband based upon the negligence of their minor son in operating ......
  • Gibson v. Gibson
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • January 25, 1971
    ...145, 16 N.E.2d 636; Mi-Lady Cleaners v. McDaniel (1938) 235 Ala. 469, 179 So. 908; Chase v. New Haven Waste Material Corporation (1930) 111 Conn. 377, 150 A. 107.) Although purporting to distinguish the situation of a negligence action directly against a living parent, such cases probably r......
  • Karam v. Allstate Ins. Co., No. 81-958
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Ohio
    • June 23, 1982
    ...Mi-Lady Cleaners v. McDaniel (1938), 235 Ala. 469 (179 So. 908, 116 A.L.R. 639); Chase v. New Haven Waste Material Corporation (1930), 111 Conn. 377 (150 A. 107, 68 A.L.R. 3 The identifiable reason for only partial abrogation of the rule is a general consensus of opinion that certain areas ......
  • Lastowski v. Norge Coin-O-Matic, Inc., COIN-O-MATI
    • United States
    • New York Supreme Court Appellate Division
    • April 8, 1974
    ...cases makes such a claim-over unlikely, the existence of the right illustrates the point (see Chase v. New Haven Waste Material Corp., 111 Conn. 377, 150 A. 107; Briggs v. City of Philadelphia, 112 Pa.Super. 50, 170 A. 871; Winnick v. Kupperman Constr. Co., 29 A.D.2d 261, 287 N.Y.S.2d 329; ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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