Harrington v. Worcester

CourtUnited States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
Citation32 N.E. 955,157 Mass. 579
PartiesHARRINGTON v. WORCESTER, L. & S. ST. RY. CO., (two cases.)
Decision Date05 January 1893

157 Mass. 579
32 N.E. 955

CO., (two cases.)

Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, Worcester.

Jan. 5, 1893.

Exceptions from superior court, Worcester county; ELISHA B. MAYNARD, Judge.

Actions by Calista E. Harrington against the Worcester, Leicester & Spencer Street-Railway Company, and Leonard Harrington against same. Motions to set aside verdicts for defendant were allowed, and defendant excepts. Exceptions overruled.

The following are defendant's exceptions: “These were separate actions, of tort, to recover of the defendant corporation damages for injuries suffered by the plaintiffs, in person and property, September 9, 1891, by reason of the plaintiff's team coming into collision with a car owned by the defendant which was then being driven by electricity along Canterbury street, in the city of Worcester, in charge of the defendant's servants. By agreement of the parties, and with the approval of the court, the cases were tried together, and the jury were taken to the scene of the accident to view the premises. After the jury had rendered a verdict for the defendant in each action, it came to the knowledge of the plaintiff's counsel that Curtis B. Green, one of the jurors before whom the causes had been tried, after the arguments had been made, and before the charge of the presiding judge hadbeen given, went alone to view the premises where the accident happened, and made some inquiries of persons he found there concerning the accident; and thereupon, in behalf of the plaintiffs, they filed motions for new trials on account of the said juror's conduct, and alleged that his said acts amounted to such misconduct as required said verdicts to be set aside. (Motions for new trial referred to.) At the hearing upon the motions for new trial, the affidavit of John Roach was put in evidence, and the said juror, Curtis B. Green, testified that the arguments in said causes were finished Wednesday afternoon, and that Thursday morning, before the coming in of the court, when the charge of the presiding judge was to be given to the jury, he visited, alone, the scene of the accident, and there looked the premises over, and went into a store near where the accident happened, and asked the proprietor if he saw the accident. The proprietor informed him that he did not see the accident, as he was away at the time it occurred. Mr. Green then asked him if the electric cars did not run faster about the

[32 N.E. 956]

time they began running last fall than they do now, which question the proprietor answered in the affirmative, and adding that the cars last fall ran at a rate of eighteen or twenty miles an hour. Mr. Green then passed out of the store, and seeing Mr. John Roach, who had testified for the plaintiffs in the trial of the causes, he said to him, ‘Just where did you stand at the time of the accident?’ Mr. Roach pointed out the place, but there was no further conversation between them, and this was all that he said or did at the time he viewed the premises alone. While Mr. Green was testifying, he was asked the following question by the defendant's counsel: ‘Did you see or hear anything at the time you viewed the premises alone that influenced your mind, one way or the other, in relation to this case, or anything that influenced your mind against the plaintiffs or their causes, in any degree?’ These questions, upon the objection of the plaintiffs, were excluded by the court, and the defendant excepted. Upon the trial, plaintiffs contended that the cars, at the time of accident, ran much faster than later, which was contradicted by defendant. The foregoing was all the evidence upon the motions. At the conclusion of the foregoing evidence on the motions for new trial, the defendant asked the court to make the following rulings, to wit: ‘(1) That on the evidence, as matter of law, the plaintiffs' motions ought not to be granted; (2) that there is no evidence to authorize a finding the mind of the juror was...

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11 cases
  • Com. v. Scanlan
    • United States
    • Appeals Court of Massachusetts
    • February 14, 1980
    ...439 U.S. 899, 99 S.Ct. 265, 58 L.Ed.2d 247 (1978); unauthorized views by the jury, Harrington v. Worcester, Leicester, & Spencer St. Ry., 157 Mass. 579, 581-583, 32 N.E. 955 (1893); facts communicated by a third party, People v. Hutchinson, 71 Cal.2d 342, 349-351, 78 Cal.Rptr. 196, 455 P.2d......
  • Commonwealth v. Miller, SJC–10640.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
    • August 17, 2016
    ...into the jury deliberation room. Fidler, 377 Mass. at 201, 385 N.E.2d 513. See Harrington v. Worcester, Leicester & Spencer St. Ry. Co., 157 Mass. 579, 581–582, 32 N.E. 955 (1893) ; Commonwealth v. Scanlan, 9 Mass.App.Ct. 173, 184, 400 N.E.2d 1265 (1980). A judge hearing a motion for a new ......
  • Bruns v. Jordan Marsh Co.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
    • March 28, 1940
    ...judicial discretion. Commonwealth v. Desmond, 141 Mass. 200, 5 N.E. 856;Harrington v. Worcester, Leicester & Spencer Street Railway Co., 157 Mass. 579, 32 N.E. 955;Manning v. Boston Elevated Railway Co., 187 Mass. 496, 73 N.E. 645;Commonwealth v. Capland, 254 Mass. 556, 150 N.E. 869;Commonw......
  • Com. v. Philyaw, 99-P-2121.
    • United States
    • Appeals Court of Massachusetts
    • September 6, 2002
    ...view by one or more jurors has long been considered an extraneous matter, Harrington v. Worcester, Leicester & Spencer St. Ry., 157 Mass. 579, 581-583, 32 N.E. 955 (1893), and one which is of a "very serious" nature. Markee v. Biasetti, 410 Mass. 785, 788, 575 N.E.2d 1083 (1991). See Common......
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