Crean v. Boston Elevated Ry. Co.

Decision Date31 October 1935
CourtUnited States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts Supreme Court

Exceptions from Superior Court, Suffolk County; Bishop Judge.

Action of tort by Edna Crean against the Boston Elevated Railway Company wherein the trial court ordered a verdict for defendant, and plaintiff saved exceptions.

Exceptions overruled.

S Abrams and E. J. Davis, both of Boston, for plaintiff.

J. E. Hannigan, of Boston, for defendant.

RUGG Chief Justice.

The plaintiff received injuries in August, 1929, while operating a motor vehicle, by reason of collision with a trolley car of the defendant at a place where there was a crossover from one side of Commonwealth avenue, in Boston, to the other side across two lines of tracks of the defendant laid in the center of the avenue within a grass plot not physically open to travel to any other vehicle except at the crossover. The plaintiff had no license to operate an automobile. She was operating an automobile owned by Timothy C. Crean, who was not present at the accident but whose brother was with the plaintiff. The custodian of the records of the registry of motor vehicles called as a witness by the defendant testified that she had with her the application for registration of the automobile made by the owner and all the records concerning it for the year 1929, and that there had been no changes or alterations in it except perhaps some of the stamps thereon. The application was rightly admitted in evidence. It purported to be signed by the owner. It was in the usual form with a space under the heading ‘ Massachusetts residential address' and another space under the hearing ‘ Mail address in full.’ Nothing was written in either of these spaces; they were blank. There was on the application as signed by the owner no indication of his residence or address.

It was required by St. 1928, c. 316, § 3, now G. L. (Ter. Ed.) c. 90, § 2, that the application for registration of a motor vehicle by the owner should contain in addition to other particulars ‘ a statement of the name, place of residence and address of the applicant.’ Plainly this application was not in conformity to either the letter or the design of that requirement. The statute puts each of these three mandates on the same footing. It often has been decided that a misstatement of the name of the owner in the application invalidates the registration. Rolli v. Converse, 227 Mass. 162, 165, 116 N.E. 507; Bacon v. Boston Elevated Railway Co., 256 Mass. 30, 152 N.E. 35, 47 A.L.R. 1100; Fine v. Kahn, 270 Mass. 557, 170 N.E. 462; Roselli v. Riseman, 280 Mass. 338, 182 N.E. 567; Furtado v. Humphrey, 284 Mass. 570, 188 N.E. 391; LaFucci v. Palladino, 285 Mass. 240, 189 N.E. 111; Caccavo v. Kearney, 286 Mass. 480, 484, 485, 190 N.E. 817. It was held in Di Cecca v. Bucci, 278 Mass. 15, 178 N.E. 447, that where the address of the owner was stated in the application to be 117 Audubon Road, Brookline, when in truth it was 117 Audubon Road, Boston, the registration was illegal. It was there said (278 Mass. 15, page 16,178 N.E. 447, 448):‘ Identification of the owner, which is one of the purposes of registration (see Koley v. Williams. 265 Mass. 601, 603, 164 N.E. 444; Nash v. Lang, 268 Mass. 407, 409, 167 N.E. 762), requires a correct statement of his address in respect to the municipality.’ This decision was followed in Ricker v. Boston Elevated Railway Co. (Mass.) 194 N.E. 815, where this language occurs: ‘ The intent [of the statute] is, that the owner may be readily found by police officers, injured persons, and others interested, without uncertainty or need for search. The facts as to name, residence and address required, are simple, within the knowledge of the applicant, and ordinarily incapable of being mistaken or misstated without carelessness.’ The case at bar is distinguishable from Topf v. Holland, 288 Mass. 552, 193 N.E. 364, where it was found that the address given was adequate to identify the applicant and although close to the line, it was held sufficient.

This omission of statement as to residence and address in the...

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