Lanstein v. Acme White Lead & Color Works

Decision Date15 February 1934
Citation285 Mass. 328,189 N.E. 44
CourtUnited States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts Supreme Court


Exceptions from Superior Court, Suffolk County; L. Goldberg, Judge.

Action of tort by Joseph Lanstein against the Acme White Lead & Color Works and others. After the recording, with leave reserved, of a verdict for plaintiff for $3,975, the superior court ordered a verdict entered for defendant, and plaintiff brings exception.

Exception overruled, and judgment for defendants.

J. C. Johnston and I. H. Y. Muchnick, both of Boston, for plaintiff.

E. J. Sullivan, of Boston, for defendants.

WAIT, Justice.

One who, uninvited but not forbidden, enters upon the premises of another in the hope of doing business for his own benefit with that other is, in law, at best, a bare licensee. He must take the place as he finds it. The other owes him no duty to have the premises reasonably safe for use by him. If, unfortunately, the one who enters is injured in consequence of a careless failure to have the premises safe for the use he makes of them, he has no redress by action at law for negligence. Plummer v. Dill, 156 Mass. 426, 31 N. E. 128,32 Am. St. Rep. 463;Alessi v. Fitzgerald, 217 Mass. 576, 105 N. E. 437, L. R. A. 1916F, 1135;Ansara v. Skaff, 259 Mass. 197, 156 N. E. 29;Barton v. Republican Co., 277 Mass. 299, 178 N. E. 605. If, after entering, he engages in business with the other in which the other is interested, a duty toward him arises-the duty to keep the premises reasonably safe for the purpose to which they are put or to warn of danger. If because of negligent failure to perform the duty the one who enters is injured without contributing carelessness of his own, he has a cause of action for negligence. Statkunas v. L. Promboim & Son, Inc., 274 Mass. 515, 519, 174 N. E. 919,Coulombe v. Horne Coal Co., 275 Mass. 226, 175 N. E. 631. In the matter before us the defendant contends that the case ends with the first proposition; while the plaintiff argues that the second states the applicable rule of law.

At the trial there was evidence as follows: The plaintiff shortly before his accident had gone back to the business of buying and selling empty barrels, after three years devoted to something else. He had dealt in barrels with the defendantsfor some five years before his taking up other matters; and wished to renew the connection. The Acme White Lead and Color Works used two floors of a four-story brick warehouse at 266 Border Street, East Boston. It did no manufacturing, but distributed goods from there throughout New England. It used an elevator in this brick warehouse. The Sherwin-Williams Company used the brick warehouse, a brick building and a wooden structure in manufacturing whiting. Its office was in the four-story brick warehouse. There was a court yard between the buildings with a driveway from the street. In the forenoon of March 20, 1929, the plaintiff left his team in the street by the gateway and walked into the court yard, in the hope of renewing the buying and selling of barrels with the defendants. He walked to the building in the rear and asked a man standing in the doorway who it was who had charge of selling barrels. The answer was ‘Charlie.’ In response to the plaintiff's question whether he could see Charlie, the man opened a door and called: ‘Charlie.’ Thereupon a man who answered to that name came out. The plaintiff had some talk with this Charlie about empty barrels. Charlie told the plaintiff to come with him; and they went to the four-story brick building. Entrance was through sliding doors from a platform reached by five or six steps. The plaintiff followed a few steps behind Charlie on to the platform, conversing as they went. Charlie rolled back the doors enough to pass through and went in. The plaintiff followed into a room full of a lot of cases. This room the plaintiff testified was very dark. Charlie turned to the right. The plaintiff followed, but lost sight of him. He kept on a few steps in the dark and fell into the open elevator well. He knew from his past experience that there was an elevator in the building. The office door was about fifteen feet to the left on entering by the rolling doors, while the elevator opening was about the same...

To continue reading

Request your trial
30 cases
  • Pridgen v. Boston Housing Authority
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts Supreme Court
    • March 5, 1974
    ...described the scope of employment of an employee such as Carney in more restrictive terms. See, e.g., Lanstein v. Acme White Lead & Color Works, 285 Mass. 328, 331, 189 N.E. 44 (1934); Codogan v. Boston Consol. Gas. Co., 290 Mass. 496, 500--501, 195 N.E. 772 (1935); Barrett v. Wood Realty I......
  • Partridge v. United Elastic Corp.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts Supreme Court
    • July 2, 1934
    ...799;Brogna v. Capodilupo, 279 Mass. 586, 181 N. E. 828;Stern v. Swartz, 283 Mass. 436, 186 N. E. 584. See, also, Lanstein v. Acme White Lead & Color Works (Mass.) 189 N. E. 44, and cases cited. The next question is whether there was evidence of a negligent breach of duty on the part of the ......
  • Story v. Lyon Realty Corp.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts Supreme Court
    • January 3, 1941
    ... ... Benton v ... Watson, 231 Mass. 582 ... Lanstein v. Acme White Lead ... & Color Works, 285 Mass ... ...
  • Urban v. Central Massachusetts Elec. Co.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts Supreme Court
    • December 2, 1938
    ...presence upon the pole, Sullivan v. Boston & Albany Railroad, 156 Mass. 378; Barton v. Republican Co. 277 Mass. 299; Lanstein v. Acme White Lead & Color Works, 285 Mass. 328; Mikaelian v. Palaza, 300 Mass. 354 , even if confine our attention solely to his mere presence upon the pole and ign......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT