Crullen v. Edison Elec. Illuminating Co. of Boston

Decision Date27 November 1925
Citation254 Mass. 93,149 N.E. 665
CourtUnited States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts Supreme Court


Appeal from Superior Court, Suffolk County; J. D. McLaughlin, Judge.

Suit in equity by Frederick E. Crullen and others against the Edison Electric Illuminating Company of Boston to restrain defendant from maintaining electric light pole in front of plaintiff's premises in private way. Decree for plaintiffs, and defendant appeals. Affirmed.

F. M. Ives, of Boston, for appellant.

J. M. Graham, of Boston, for appellees.


This is a suit in equity to restrain the defendant from maintaining an electric light pole in front of the plaintiffs' premises in a private way ten feet in width, known as Hilburn Place, in the Roslindale district of Boston.

The plaintiffs' land is situated at the southeast corner of Poplar Street and Hilburn Place. Adjoining it on the east, and abutting on Hilburn Place, is the land of one Rogers. In 1915 Rogers granted permission to the defendant to erect and maintain a line of two poles through this private way with the necessary fixtures for the transmission of electricity; and one Morse, who then owned the premises now owned by the plaintiffs, gave like permission. The defendant thereupon erected a pole on that part of the private way on which the plaintiffs' land abuts and close to the southerly line of the way. Soon after the plaintiffs acquired title to the land they requested the defendant to remove this pole.

The presiding judge found that the plaintiffs own to the center of Hilburn Place, subject to the easement of the other abutters, to use the way for purposes of travel; that the easement of Rogers was limited to the use of the way for purposes of travel and did not include the right to ‘maintain an electric light pole to support wires for the purposes of his household’; that the defendant, acting in the right of the abutting owner Rogers, had no greater rights in the way than Rogers. A decree was entered for the plaintiffs, and the defendant appealed.

[1] The plaintiffs owned to the center of the private way subject to the easement of Rogers. Lemay v. Furtado, 182 Mass. 280, 65 N. E. 395;Lagoris v. Lewenberg, 226 Mass. 464, 115 N. E. 979. As the owners of the servient estate they possessed all the rights of an owner except as limited by the easement of the dominant estate; they could not interfere with the abutter's right of passage through the way. But the easement did not give Rogers the right to erect the pole; this was an obstruction of the way and an interference with the plaintiffs' rights as owners of the land; it was an invasion of their title as owners and was not within the easement of travel granted to Rogers. Ganley v. Looney, 14 Allen, 40;Zimmerman v. Finkelstein, 230 Mass. 17, 119 N. E. 194;Congregation Beth Israel v. Heller, 231 Mass. 527, 121 N. E. 400;Siegel v. Starzyk, 238 Mass. 291, 297, 130 N. E. 499;New York Central Railroad v. Ayer, 242 Mass. 69, 136 N. E. 364.

[2][3][4][5] The easement acquired by the public in public highways includes every reasonable means for the transmission of intelligence, the conveyance of persons, and the transportation of commodities. Gas and water pipes, electric light and power poles, electric railways, and other means...

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17 cases
  • Busalacchi v. McCabe
    • United States
    • Appeals Court of Massachusetts
    • April 2, 2008
    ...A right of way provides rights of ingress, egress, and travel over the land subject to the easement. See Crullen v. Edison Elec. Illuminating Co., 254 Mass. 93, 94, 149 N.E. 665 (1925); Nantucket Conservation Foundation, Inc. v. Russell Mgmt., Inc., 380 Mass. 212, 216, 402 N.E.2d 501 (1980)......
  • Oregon Short Line Railroad Co. v. Murray City
    • United States
    • Utah Supreme Court
    • December 10, 1954
    ...the transmission of intelligence, the conveyance of persons and the transportation of commodities.' [Crullen v. Edison Electric Illuminating Co. of Boston, 254 Mass. 93, 149 N.E. 665, 666] This includes new and undeveloped means of communication as well as those known and customary means ex......
  • O'Brien v. Boston & M.R.R.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts Supreme Court
    • March 8, 1950
    ... ... 568, 571, 137 ... N.E. 916; Crullen v. Edison Electric Illuminating Co. of ... Boston, 254 Mass. 93, 149 N.E ... ...
  • Anderson v. Great Bay Solar I, LLC
    • United States
    • Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
    • December 18, 2019
    ...of persons, the transfer of goods and transmission of intelligence[.]" West, 162 Md. at 311-12 (quoting Crullen v. Edison Elec. Illumination Co. of Boston, 254 Mass. 93, 94-95 (1925)). The Court of Appeals has recognized, however, a "distinction between the use of the streets in cities and ......
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