Lyons v. Boston Elevated Ry. Co.

Decision Date07 January 1910
PartiesLYONS v. BOSTON ELEVATED RY. CO.
CourtUnited States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts Supreme Court
COUNSEL

Whipple, Sears & Ogden, Charles Wood Bond, and H E. Perkins, for plaintiff.

Ralph A. Stewart and L. R. Chamberlin, for defendant.

OPINION

RUGG J.

While the female plaintiff was entering one of the defendant's cars by its middle door, which had just been opened as the car came to a stop, she observed a number of bundles in the doorway, one of which she moved, and over the other of which she stumbled and fell. There was no evidence as to the length of time they had been in the doorway nor as to their ownership, except that after she fell a passenger came from the other side of the car and took them away. The only description given of them was that they were good-sized brown paper parcels, the taller one being about as high as the knee. It is matter of common knowledge that the defendant does not conduct an express or parcel delivery business in Boston. The only reasonable inference from these facts is that the parcels were placed in the doorway by a passenger. Passengers upon elevated cars frequently carry bundles of all sorts, and have a right to do so. It is difficult to conceive of performing a service like that of the defendant without permitting bags and parcels to be brought into the cars. Passengers have control of them and may be expected occasionally to put them on the floor of the car. The degree of peril to other passengers resulting therefrom is ordinarily slight. Such things reasonably and intelligently done do not constitute sources of danger. Pitcher v. O C. St. Ry. Co., 196 Mass. 69, 81 N.E. 876. The public and the defendant must act with reference to this widely prevailing custom. There are no circumstances which indicate that it was the duty of the defendant to keep an employé at each car exit and entrance to see that passengers did not place their packages where they might become obstructions to those coming in or going out. It is too onerous a burden to require the defendant to act upon the theory that every one of its passengers is likely to be careless as to his fellows. The defendant might rely upon its patrons not to be heedless of the safety of others in this respect. The fact that one out of many violated his duty does not in and of itself render the defendant liable. There must at least be some notice to the defendant of such conduct...

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53 cases
  • Guinan v. Famous Players-Lasky Corp.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts Supreme Court
    • June 6, 1929
    ...Colony Street Railway, 196 Mass. 69, 81 N. E. 876,13 L. R. A. (N. S.) 481, 124 Am. St. Rep. 513,12 Ann. Cas. 886,Lyons v. Boston Elevated Railway, 204 Mass. 227, 90 N. E. 419, and cases cited. The conductor was not charged with notice that an ordinary burlap bag contained substances of a hi......
  • Mattox v. Lambright, (No. 14661.)
    • United States
    • Georgia Court of Appeals
    • December 10, 1923
    ...those of the case at bar. Compare with the former Goddard v. Boston & Maine Railroad, 179 Mass. 52, 00 N. E. 4S0; Lyons v. Boston Elevated Ry. Co., 204 Mass. 227, 90 N. E. 419. The petition sets forth a cause of action, and the court erred in sustaining the demurrer. See Jones v. Tift, 63 G......
  • Moore v. Sears
    • United States
    • Georgia Court of Appeals
    • February 14, 1931
    ...145 Ga. 339, 89 S. E. 197, Ann. Cas. 1918E, 176; Goddard v. Boston & Maine Railroad, 179 Mass. 52, 60 N. E. 486; Lyons v. Boston Elevated Ry. Co., 204 Mass. 227, 90 N. E. 419; Downing v. Jordan Marsh Co., 234 Mass. 159, 125 N. E. 207. There might be some merit in this contention if the peti......
  • Moore v. Sears, Roebuck & Co.
    • United States
    • Georgia Court of Appeals
    • February 14, 1931
    ... ... Boney v. City of Dublin, 145 Ga. 339, 89 S.E. 197, ... Ann.Cas. 1918E, 176; Goddard v. Boston & Maine ... Railroad, 179 Mass. 52, 60 N.E. 486; Lyons v. Boston ... Elevated Ry. Co., 204 Mass ... ...
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