O'Donnell v. White

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Rhode Island
Writing for the CourtSTINESS, C. J.
Citation24 R.I. 483,53 A. 633
Decision Date07 November 1902
PartiesO'DONNELL v. WHITE, City Treasurer,
53 A. 633
24 R.I. 483

O'DONNELL
v.
WHITE, City Treasurer,

Supreme Court of Rhode Island.

Nov. 7, 1902.


Trespass on the case by James H. O'Donnell against J. Ellis White, city treasurer. Case heard on petition of defendant for new trial. Petition granted.

See 50 Atl. 333.

Argued before STINESS, C. J., and TILLINGHAST and ROGERS, JJ.

Hugh J. Carroll, for plaintiff.

Edward W. Blodgett, for defendant.

STINESS, C. J. The defendant's petition for a new trial must be granted, on several grounds.

1. If the plaintiff's testimony shows anything in the nature of a trespass upon his premises, it is the willful act of the servants of the city in filling in dirt upon his land against his remonstrance. A municipal corporation is not liable for the acts of its officers, though done under color of authority, unless such acts were expressly authorized, or ratified, or done in good faith pursuant to some general authority given. Donnelly v. Tripp, 12 R. I. 97; Horton v. Newell, 17 R. I. 571, 23 Atl. 910. No such authority is shown.

2. The damage claimed by the plaintiff arose from filling the streets on which his premises abutted, but it is not shown that the filling was caused by a change of grade from one previously established. For an original establishment of grade an abutting owner is not entitled to compensation. Aldrich v. Board, 12 R. I. 241.

3. There is no testimony to show that the city of Pawtucket collected water from other points, and turned it upon the plaintiff's land. Inman v. Tripp, 11 R. I. 520, 23 Am. Rep. 520. For the escape of the natural flow of surface water from a highway onto adjacent land no action will lie. Wakefield v. Newell, 12 R. I. 76, 34 Am. Rep. 598; Almy v. Coggeshall, 19 R. I. 549, 36 Atl. 1124.

4. The exception taken by the defendant to the ruling, if we understand it correctly, that the city was liable for damage caused by water from the street that flowed upon the plaintiff's land, by reason of the filling, which otherwise would not have gone there, is sustained. This is not in accordance v the decisions cited above.

5. The evidence does not show any breach of duty which the city owed to the plaintiff, and hence he shows no ground for a recovery. Smith v. Tripp, 13 R. I. 152; Pierce v. Tripp,

13 R. I. 181.

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2 practice notes
  • City of Rawlins v. Jungquist
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • March 21, 1908
    ...the streets to the first grade established, though there are contrary decisions. (Dill. Mun. Corp., 1236-1237; O'Donnell v. White, 24 R.I. 483.) Also that where a liability exists, a property owner cannot recover where he consents to or does the grading himself, or where he had made improve......
  • Red v. Little Rock Railway & Electric Co., 246
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Arkansas
    • November 15, 1915
    ...establishment of a grade line and the reduction of the street to such line. Dillon Munic. Corp. (5 ed.) 2940-41; 69 P. 89; 102 N.W. 751; 53 A. 633; 111 S.W. 284; 95 P. 975; 34 Ohio 328; 2 Ohio St. 148; 28 Ohio Cir. Ct. R. 173; 135 P. 631. Appellant's complaint does not state a cause of acti......
2 cases
  • City of Rawlins v. Jungquist
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • March 21, 1908
    ...the streets to the first grade established, though there are contrary decisions. (Dill. Mun. Corp., 1236-1237; O'Donnell v. White, 24 R.I. 483.) Also that where a liability exists, a property owner cannot recover where he consents to or does the grading himself, or where he had made improve......
  • Red v. Little Rock Railway & Electric Co., 246
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Arkansas
    • November 15, 1915
    ...establishment of a grade line and the reduction of the street to such line. Dillon Munic. Corp. (5 ed.) 2940-41; 69 P. 89; 102 N.W. 751; 53 A. 633; 111 S.W. 284; 95 P. 975; 34 Ohio 328; 2 Ohio St. 148; 28 Ohio Cir. Ct. R. 173; 135 P. 631. Appellant's complaint does not state a cause of acti......

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