Frazier v. New York, N.H. & H.R. Co.

Decision Date26 February 1902
Citation180 Mass. 427,62 N.E. 731
PartiesFRAZIER v. NEW YORK, N.H. & H. R. CO.
CourtUnited States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts Supreme Court
COUNSEL

Geo. Fred Williams, for plaintiff.

Samuel Hoar, for defendant.

OPINION

LORING J.

In this case the plaintiff sues for an injury caused by her falling over an unguarded wooden platform, about six inches in height, in that part of the South Terminal Station in the city of Boston lying between the waiting rooms, on the one side, and the fence which shuts in the tracks, on the other side. The unguarded platform which caused the accident was stated at the argument to be the floor of a booth for the sale of articles, which was then being built. It is stated in the report 'that the station in which the plaintiff was injured was owned and operated and controlled exclusively by the Boston Terminal Company, a corporation organized under chapter 516 of the Acts of 1896, and that there were no instruments or agreements under which defendant entered and used said station, and under which said station was used operated, and maintained, other than said statute. There was no evidence that the defendant owned, leased, occupied, used maintained, or controlled the premises where the plaintiff was injured, except as stated.' The only other statement in the report which is material is that the South Terminal Station is the 'regular terminus in said Boston at which passengers were received and discharged by the defendant in the regular course of its business as a common carrier of passengers.' The ground on which it is sought to cast upon this defendant a liability for the negligence of another corporation on the premises of that other corporation, and within the control of that other corporation, is that such was the intention of the act, taken in connection with the rule that one railroad using the tracks of another railroad by arrangement, in place of building its own tracks, is liable, although it had no control over the tracks of the other road. As the contention of the plaintiff depends to some extent on this rule of law, it will be convenient to come to a definite understanding of the rule before considering the construction of the act. It was laid down in Littlejohn v. Railroad Co., 148 Mass. 478, 481, 20 N.E. 103, 2 L. R. A. 502, that a passenger has his remedy against the carrier, which has undertaken to transport him over the line operated by it, for an accident which occurs while he is being transported by that carrier over the tracks of another railroad, even if the owner of the tracks alone was in fault. Although no decided case has presented that proposition, we have no doubt that what is laid down in Littlejohn v. Railroad Co. is the law of this state. This rule rests upon the ground that it is immaterial what arrangements are made by a carrier for transportation within the two terminal points between which it is operating a railroad; that it is liable to a passenger between those two points, whether it conducts its business by its own servants, or by contract with others, over whom it has reserved to itself no control. The same conclusion was reached in England, on the ground that a carrier who sells a ticket to a point on the road of a connecting carrier is liable, in the absence of a stipulation to the contrary, as matter of contract, for the whole transportation,--even for the part not performed by it. That the rule in question in England rests on that ground, see Railway Co. v. Blake, 7 Hurl. & N. 987, 991, 993, 995, and Thomas v. Railway Co., L. R. 6 Q. B. 266, 273, 275. But the rule as to connecting carriers is otherwise in this commonwealth ( Nutting v. Railroad Co., 1 Gray, 502; Darling v. Railroad Corp., 11 Allen, 295; Moore v. Railroad Co., 173 Mass. 335, 53 N.E. 816, 73 Am. St. Rep. 298); and here the rule in question must rest on the ground already stated. We have no doubt that this rule applies in case of the use of a station as well as in case of the use of the tracks of another railroad. See, in this connection, McCluer v. Railroad, 13 Gray, 124, 74 Am. Dec. 624. This brings us to a construction of the provisions of the act, and of the defendant's relation to the terminal company under it.

The only relation which the defendant had to the terminal company or to the station was that it acted in obedience to section 9, which provided that 'upon the completion of said station' all said railroad companies 'shall use the same.' In determining what relation the defendant came under by using the station, it is to be noted in the first place that section 9 provided that the terminal company 'may contract with either of said railroad companies for the use of such separate and specified portion or portions of the terminal station * * * as may be reasonably necessary for their respective use,' but that no contract was made under that clause. The act not only provides, in section 1 that the terminal company is created to 'maintain' the station, and 'to provide and operate adequate terminal facilities for the several railroad companies * * * and for the accommodation of the public in connection therewith,' but it also provides in section 3 that 'the immediate government and direction of the affairs of' the company shall be in five trustees, and in section 8 that the terminal company, 'upon the completion of said Union Passenger Station and grounds, shall make reasonable rules and regulations for their use.' Section 8...

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    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts Supreme Court
    • February 27, 1902
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