Farrigan v. Pevear

CourtUnited States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
Writing for the CourtBRALEY
Citation78 N.E. 855,193 Mass. 147
PartiesFARRIGAN v. PEVEAR et al.
Decision Date24 October 1906

193 Mass. 147
78 N.E. 855

FARRIGAN
v.
PEVEAR et al.

Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, Worcester.

Oct. 24, 1906.


Exceptions from Superior Court, Worcester County; Edward P. Pierce, Judge.

Action by James H. Farrigan against Henry A. Pevear and others. Judgment in favor of defendants, and plaintiff brings exceptions. Exceptions overruled.


Geo. [193 Mass. 148]S. Taft and Geo. R. Stobbs, for plaintiff.

Parker & Milton and Geo. A Gaskill, for defendants.


BRALEY, J.

The Stetson Home, of which the defendants are trustees, was founded and is maintained under a trust created by gift for the sole purpose of affording an education and maintenance for destitute boys, and whatever advantages the institution offers are conferred without compensation. These distinctive features are ample to bring the home, even if unincorporated, within that class of benevolent institutions whose sole purpose is to furnish relief to destitute and deserving people, and therefore constitutes a valid public charity. [193 Mass. 149]Bartlett v. Nye, 4 Metc. 378, 380;Odell v. Odell, 10 Allen 1, 4;Jackson v. Phillips, 14 Allen, 539;Sherman v. Congregational Home Missionary Society, 176 Mass. 349, 57 N. E. 702;Minot v. Atty, Gen., 189 Mass. 176, 179, 75 N. E. 149. At the outset it may be said that the case of Davis v. Central Congregational Society, 129 Mass. 367, 37 Am. Rep. 368, on which the plaintiff relies, and that of Smethurst v. Proprietors of Independent Congregational Church in Barton Square, 148 Mass. 261, 19 N. E. 387,2 L. R. A. 695, 12 Am. St. Rep. 550, are not authorities in his favor, as the question of the liability of a public charity for the negligence of its servants or agents does not appear to have been raised or decided. See, Minns v. Billings, 183 Mass. 126, 66 N. E. 593,97 Am. St. Rep. 420;Osgood v. Rogers, 186 Mass. 238, 240, 71 N. E. 306; Compare Chapin v. Holyoke Young Men's Christian Association, 165 Mass. 280, 42 N. E. 1130, and Donnelly v. Boston Catholic Cemetery Association, 146 Mass. 163, 15 N. E. 505. Under the authority of McDonald v. Massachusetts General Hospital, 120 Mass. 432, 21 Am. Rep. 529, if the home had been incorporated the plaintiff could not have maintained this action against it, for if properly selected such a corporation was held in that case not to be liable for the negligence of its servants when acting in the performance of their prescribed duties. See, also, Benton v. Trustees of Boston City Hospital, 140 Mass. 13, 1 N. E. 836,54 Am. Rep. 436. Among the reasons given for this exemption it has been said, that being a charitable institution rendering services to the public without pecuniary profit, if the property of the charity was depleted by the payment of damages its usefulness might be either impaired or wholly destroyed, the object of the founder or donors defeated, and charitable gifts discouraged; or that if an individual accepts the benefit of a public charity he thereby enters into a relation which exempts his benefactor from liability for the negligence of servants who are employed in its administration, provided due care has been used in their selection. McDonald v. Massachusetts General Hospital, ubi supra; Perry v. House of Refuge, 63 Md. 20, 52 Am. Rep. 495;Williamson v. Louisville Industrial School of Reform, 95 Ky. 251, 24 S. W. 1065,23 L. R. A. 200, 44 Am. St. Rep. 243;Fire Insurance Patrol v. Boyd, 120 Pa. 624, 15 Atl. 553, 1 L. R. A. 417, 6 Am. St. Rep. 745; Powers v. Massachusetts Homeopathic Hospital, 109 Fed. 294, 303, 47 C. C. A. 122, 65 L. R. A. 372. But whatever grounds may have been stated in support of these and other decisions which have held public charities exempt from actions caused by the negligence of attendants or...

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53 practice notes
  • President and Dir. of Georgetown College v. Hughes, No. 7761.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • June 30, 1942
    ...has held that charitable trustees are not liable individually, under respondeat superior, for negligent acts. Farrigan v. Pevear, 1906, 193 Mass. 147, 78 N.E. 855, 7 L.R.A.,N. S., 481, 118 Am.St.Rep. 484. In three other cases unincorporated charitable associations, not constituted as trusts......
  • Muller v. Nebraska Methodist Hospital, No. 33694
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Nebraska
    • April 29, 1955
    ...there is an assumption of risk by the person who seeks and receives the services of a public charity.' See, also, Farrigan v. Pevear, 193 Mass. 147, 78 N.E. 855, 7 L.R.A.,N.S., 481, 118 Am.St.Rep. 484; Hospital of St. Vincent of Paul v. Thompson, 116 Va. 101, 81 S.E. 13, 51 L.R.A.,N.S., 102......
  • Roosen v. Peter Bent Brigham Hosp.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
    • February 28, 1920
    ...by it as a department of government, on the authority of Hill v. Boston, 122 Mass. 344, 23 Am. Rep. 332. In Farrigan v. Pevear, 193 Mass. 147, 78 N. E. 855,7 L. R. A. (N. S.) 481, 118 Am. St. Rep. 484, an action of tort for negligence of servants of a private charity, it was said, after rel......
  • Andrews v. Young Men's Christian Ass'n of Des Moines, No. 44403.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • February 15, 1939
    ...v. St. Luke's Hosp., 137 Mo.App. 116, 117 S.W. 1189;Emery v. Jewish Hosp. Ass'n, 193 Ky. 400, 236 S.W. 577;Farrigan v. Pevear, 193 Mass. 147, 78 N.E. 855, 7 L.R.A.,N.S., 481, 118 Am.St.Rep. 484, 8 Ann.Cas. 1109;Conklin v. Industrial Home, 224 Mass. 222, 112 N.E. 606;Zoulalian v. New England......
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53 cases
  • President and Dir. of Georgetown College v. Hughes, No. 7761.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • June 30, 1942
    ...has held that charitable trustees are not liable individually, under respondeat superior, for negligent acts. Farrigan v. Pevear, 1906, 193 Mass. 147, 78 N.E. 855, 7 L.R.A.,N. S., 481, 118 Am.St.Rep. 484. In three other cases unincorporated charitable associations, not constituted as trusts......
  • Muller v. Nebraska Methodist Hospital, No. 33694
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Nebraska
    • April 29, 1955
    ...there is an assumption of risk by the person who seeks and receives the services of a public charity.' See, also, Farrigan v. Pevear, 193 Mass. 147, 78 N.E. 855, 7 L.R.A.,N.S., 481, 118 Am.St.Rep. 484; Hospital of St. Vincent of Paul v. Thompson, 116 Va. 101, 81 S.E. 13, 51 L.R.A.,N.S., 102......
  • Roosen v. Peter Bent Brigham Hosp.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
    • February 28, 1920
    ...by it as a department of government, on the authority of Hill v. Boston, 122 Mass. 344, 23 Am. Rep. 332. In Farrigan v. Pevear, 193 Mass. 147, 78 N. E. 855,7 L. R. A. (N. S.) 481, 118 Am. St. Rep. 484, an action of tort for negligence of servants of a private charity, it was said, after rel......
  • Andrews v. Young Men's Christian Ass'n of Des Moines, No. 44403.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • February 15, 1939
    ...v. St. Luke's Hosp., 137 Mo.App. 116, 117 S.W. 1189;Emery v. Jewish Hosp. Ass'n, 193 Ky. 400, 236 S.W. 577;Farrigan v. Pevear, 193 Mass. 147, 78 N.E. 855, 7 L.R.A.,N.S., 481, 118 Am.St.Rep. 484, 8 Ann.Cas. 1109;Conklin v. Industrial Home, 224 Mass. 222, 112 N.E. 606;Zoulalian v. New England......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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