Lucier v. Norcross

CourtUnited States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
Citation310 Mass. 213,37 N.E.2d 498
Decision Date31 October 1941

310 Mass. 213
37 N.E.2d 498


Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, Worcester.

Oct. 31, 1941.

Exceptions from Superior Court, Worcester County; Leary, Judge.

Action by Theodore E. Lucier, administrator, against Charles Norcross for the death of plaintiff's intestate who was killed by defendant's automobile. Verdict for plaintiff for $3,885. On defendant's exceptions.

Exceptions overruled.

[37 N.E.2d 498]

Argued before FIELD, C. J., and QUA, DOLAN, COX, and RONAN, JJ.

S. B. Milton, of Worcester, for defendant.

W. W. Buckley, of Worcester, for plaintiff.

QUA, Justice.

On December 15, 1938, at about ten o'clock in the evening, the plaintiff's intestate, Henry Lucier, while on a public highway in Charlton, was struck and killed by an automobile driven by the defendant.

[37 N.E.2d 499]

The issues are whether there was any evidence of the defendant's negligence, whether as matter of law the deceased was guilty of contributory negligence, and whether there was error in admitting certain evidence.

We deal first with the evidence point. The plaintiff called as a witness an investigator for the registrar of motor vehicles. On direct examination the witness testified that he had an opinion as to how far the lights of an ordinary motor vehicle ‘turned on a low beam’ will pick up an object the size of an average man. Against the defendant's exception he was then permitted to testify that the distance was about thirty to thirty-five feet. Since the defendant himself testified that his lights were on ‘low beam’ at the time of the accident, the distance at which his lights in that position would disclose a pedestrian in the way was material in the case. This was a matter about which an expert might be expected to possess more accurate information than the ordinary juryman and was therefore a proper subject for expert testimony. The evidence was not inadmissible on the ground that it involved an assumption that the defendant's lights conformed, at least roughly, to an average or normal standard. There was a reasonable basis of probability for that assumption. Headlights on motor vehicles and devices which alter the beam must be approved by the registrar. G.L.(Ter.Ed.) c. 90, § 7, as amended. The lights of motor vehicles are regularly inspected and corrected in accordance with statutory provisions. G.L.(Ter.Ed.) c. 90, § 7A. Much of the testimony habitually received in trials involving motor vehicles and other machines and objects known to be of a generally...

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3 cases
  • Miller v. Gault
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
    • 23 November 1942
    ......         In Lucier v. Norcross, 310 Mass. 213, 37 N.E.2d 498, 499, 137 A.L.R. 749, the facts were that plaintiff intestate while on a public highway at night was killed ......
  • Barow v. Modoono
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
    • 29 March 1950
  • Lucier v. Norcross
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
    • 31 October 1941

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