Leonard v. Conquest

Decision Date03 February 1931
PartiesLEONARD v. CONQUEST (two cases).
CourtUnited States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts Supreme Court


Exceptions from Superior Court, Essex County; Franklin T. Hammond, Judge.

Separate actions by Elizabeth A. Leonard and by Robert G. Leonard against John W. Conquest, tried together. Defendant's motions for a directed verdict upon each count in both declarations were granted in part and refused in part, and verdicts found for the plaintiffs, and both plaintiffs and defendant bring exceptions.

Exceptions sustained in part and in part overruled.

E. C. Jacobs, of Lynn, for plaintiffs.

E. J. Garity, of Lynn, for defendant.


These are two actions of tort and were tried to a jury. The plaintiffs are husband and wife. The declaration of the wife was in two counts; the first based upon the negligence of the defendant, the second upon the willful, reckless and wanton conduct of the defendant, his agents or servants. The declaration of the husband was in four counts. The first alleged property damage to his automobile through the negligence of the same defendant; the second claimed compensation for expenses sustained by the plaintiff for medicines, medical attendance, loss of services and the society of his wife through the negligence of the defendant; the third and fourth counts allege the same damages by the willful, wanton and reckless misconduct of the defendant. At the close of the evidence the defendant presented motions for a directed verdict upon each count in both declarations. On these motions the judge ordered verdicts for the defendant on the counts in both declarations alleging willful, wanton and reckless misconduct, and refused to allow the defendant's motions for directed verdicts upon the other counts. In each case the plaintiff excepted to the allowance of the motion for a directed verdict for the defendant, supra, and the defendant excepted to the denial of his motion to direct a verdict on the first count in Elizabeth A. Leonard's declaration and on the first and second counts in Robert G. Leonard's declaration. All the material evidence is contained in the defendant's bill of exceptions. The jury found for the plaintiffs on the counts submitted to them.

On his brief the plaintiff Robert G. Leonard waived the second count in his declaration for medical expense incurred in behalf of his wife, Elizabeth A. Leonard, and agreed that judgment may be entered for the defendant on that count. Prior to the charge the defendant presented the following requests for rulings and instructions to the jury in each of the cases: ‘2. If the jury find that the registration of the automobile in which the plaintiff was riding contained an incorrect maker's number, the automobile was improperly registered.’ ‘3. If the application for registration made by Robert G. Leonard incorrectly gave the maker's number of his automobile and the registration as issued contained said incorect number, then the automobile was improperly registered and was a trespasser and a nuisance upon the highway.’ To the judge's denial to give said rulings and to his refusal to instruct the jury as requested, the defendant duly excepted.

The facts as they are stated in the bills of exceptions are in substance as follows: The accident occurred at noon on Labor Day, 1927, on a much traveled highway between Boston and Newburyport, called the Newburyport turnpike, in Lynnfield. At the point of the accident the road was perfectly straight in both directions for as much as a mile; it was of concrete construction and about twelve to fifteen feet wide. There were dirt shoulders on the side of the concrete; and near the side of the road going toward Newburyport there were poles carrying wires. The plaintiff Elizabeth A. Leonard was not licensed to operate motor vehicles but was driving her husband's automobile on the license of her husband, who was riding with her at the time of the accident. They were driving toward Newburyport and the defendant was going in the opposite direction. Mrs. Leonard was driving on the right-hand side of the road at the rate of twenty-two to twenty-four miles an hour. There was other traffic going in the same direction a few car lengths ahead, and an automobile a few car lengths in the rear going in the same direction. On the other side of the road ‘there was kind of a jam up the road a ways going toward Boston.’ On that side the traffic ‘was heavier and the cars were packed close...

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14 cases
  • Potter v. Gilmore
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts Supreme Court
    • February 16, 1933
    ...that the evidence did not warrant findings of wanton or reckless conduct on the part of the defendants. See, also, Leonard v. Conquest, 274 Mass. 347, 174 N. E. 677;Sullivan v. Napolitano, 277 Mass. 341, 178 N. E. 654. In Kilduff v. Boston Elevated Railway Co., 247 Mass. 453, 456, 142 N. E.......
  • Isaacson v. Boston
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts Supreme Court
    • March 5, 1932
    ...238;Freeman v. United Fruit Co., 223 Mass. 300, 302, 111 N. E. 789;Commonwealth v. Arone, 265 Mass. 128, 163 N. E. 758;Leonard v. Conquest, 274 Mass. 347, 174 N. E. 677, and other cases in which the evidence was held sufficient to warrant a finding of willful, wanton and reckless misconduct......
  • Sandler v. Com.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts Supreme Court
    • January 19, 1995
    ...brakes were not functioning and driver was speeding in a forbidden lane, in violation of three separate laws); Leonard v. Conquest, 274 Mass. 347, 352, 174 N.E. 677 (1931) (evidence warranted finding of recklessness where driver drove thirty miles an hour in lane designated for oncoming tra......
  • Bruce v. Hanks
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts Supreme Court
    • December 4, 1931
    ...vehicle was being operated by and under the control of a person for whom the plaintiff was legally responsible. See, also, Leonard v. Conquest (Mass.) 174 N. E. 677. As we interpret the statute, there was no sufficient prima facie evidence of liability here. The essential element of authori......
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