Mason v. Postal Telegraph Cable Co.

Decision Date16 March 1905
Citation50 S.E. 781,71 S.C. 150
PartiesMASON v. POSTAL TELEGRAPH CABLE CO.
CourtSouth Carolina Supreme Court

Appeal from Common Pleas Circuit Court of Spartanburg County Townsend, Judge.

Action by Margaret Mason against the Postal Telegraph Cable Company. From judgment for plaintiff, defendant appeals. Affirmed.

Ralph K. Carson, Ravenel & Gantt, and Felder & Roundtree, for appellant. Stanyarne Wilson, for respondent.

JONES J.

The complaint in this action was to recover damages for trespass upon plaintiff's lands by the defendant in the construction of its telegraph line over the same. The defendant pleaded in defense a written and verbal permission by plaintiff to enter and construct. The action resulted in a verdict and judgment for plaintiff. The defendant constructed its line through plaintiff's yard over the piazza of her house. In her deposition, taken for use at the trial, plaintiff testified that she did not consent for the line to be constructed through her yard, and that when defendant's agent got her to sign a paper he told her that the poles would be put next to the railroad. Defendant's counsel objected to this testimony as tending to contradict a written instrument, and the ruling of the court in admitting the testimony is the ground of the first exception.

The instrument to which defendant's counsel referred, as it afterwards appeared, granted the defendant company, in consideration of $1, "the right to construct and maintain its lines of telegraph, including the necessary poles and fixtures, over the property which I own or in which I have any interest in the county of Spartanburg and state of South Carolina, and along the roads, streets, highways adjoining," etc. In the case of Zimmerman v. American Telephone & Telegraph Co. (recently decided) 51 S.E. 243 this court used this language: "If the instrument had been such as to grant the right to cross plaintiff's lot in any line plaintiff should locate, it would not have been competent, in the absence of allegation of fraud, to show a contemporaneous parol agreement or mutual understanding that the line should be located in a different way from that adopted by the defendant, as that would violate the salutary rule which for bids parol testimony to vary or alter a written instrument." If we should concede that such an instrument authorized a location upon and over plaintiff's premises wherever defendant should choose the ruling of ...

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