Nichols v. Ela

Decision Date15 April 1878
Citation124 Mass. 333
PartiesJohn C. Nichols v. George W. Ela
CourtUnited States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts Supreme Court

Argued November 9, 1877; November 10, 1877

Essex. Bill in equity to redeem land in Lawrence from two mortgages. Hearing upon the pleadings, a master's report and exceptions thereto, and certain motions of the defendant before Endicott, J., who overruled the motions and the exceptions, and directed a decree to be entered that a certain sum was due the defendant on May 1, 1876, as found by the master, and that the case should stand for further proceedings to determine the rents and profits since May 1 1876; and, at the request of the defendant, reserved the case for the consideration of the full court. If the rulings and order for a decree were correct, a decree was to be entered in conformity with the order; otherwise, the case to take such direction as the court should order. So much of the case as is necessary to the understanding of the points decided appears in the opinion.

Decree for the plaintiff.

D Saunders & J. A. Loring, (R. Ela with them,) for the defendant.

E. T Burley & W. S. Knox, for the plaintiff.

Colt J. Morton & Soule, JJ., absent.


Colt, J.

The defendant is in possession of mortgaged premises consisting of a brewery, which the plaintiff by his bill seeks to redeem. The case was referred to a master under an order which simply required him to "state the accounts between the parties, and to make report thereof to the court." After the master had submitted his draft report to counsel, and at a hearing had for the purpose of settling the same, the counsel for the defendant requested the master to report all the evidence upon which certain findings of the master were based. The master declined to accede to this request, on the ground that, as the hearing occupied many days, it would be difficult, if not impossible, for him to produce a substantially accurate report of the evidence requested. He submitted the question however, to the decision of the court. The defendant's motion, that the master be then ordered to report the evidence, was disallowed by a single judge; as well as a motion afterwards made to amend the order of reference to the master by adding a requirement that he report the evidence upon the request of either party.

Upon the coming in of the report, the defendant filed a motion that the order of reference be vacated and the report set aside; and that issues be framed and the case set down for trial by a jury, or before a single judge, or before another master, with instructions to report the evidence with his findings, alleging that the case was submitted to the master under the mistaken belief of one of his counsel, that under the order of reference he was entitled to have the evidence reported; and that the report as made is calculated to injure him by making an unfair and partial statement of the evidence; and is inconsistent, obscure and uncertain in particulars specified. This motion was also overruled. The case then came on for hearing, upon the defendant's exceptions to the master's report, before a single judge, who overruled the exceptions and ordered a decree to be entered that there was due from the plaintiff to the defendant the amount found by the master. From this decree, the defendant stated that he should appeal, and, by the terms of the report, the correctness of the several rulings and orders are now submitted for revision.

The defendant complains of the amount with which he is charged by the master for rents and profits of the mortgaged premises, actually received by him, "and which without his wilful default he might have received since he took possession." In various ways, he tries to obtain a rehearing of the case for the purpose of diminishing the amount. But the answer to these several applications is, that the defendant without objection began and finished a hearing before the master, under an order of reference containing no requirement for a report of the evidence, and that this hearing was upon a matter of some difficulty and complication, where the decision depended on the testimony of many witnesses, and where from the nature of the investigation, or from the want of proper and full minutes, or for some other good reason, the evidence cannot now be produced for revision with substantial accuracy. The master is not responsible for this. There was not only no requirement on him in the order of reference, but there was no request for a report until after the hearing, and after the parties were informed of his conclusions.

The duty of a master who is required to...

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11 cases
  • Haskell v. Merrill
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts Supreme Court
    • May 23, 1901
    ...are based on evidence it is enough to say that the master was not ordered by the court or asked by the parties to report it. Nichols v. Ela, 124 Mass. 333, 335; Freeland Wright, 154 Mass. 492, 28 N.E. 678. The objection to findings that express in a single word, such as 'loan,' 'security,' ......
  • Lincoln v. Eaton
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts Supreme Court
    • January 2, 1882
    ...of fact; and he was not bound to report evidence, because not specifically directed so to do. Jones v. Keen , 115 Mass. 170. Nichols v. Ela, 124 Mass. 333, 335, 336. Lee v. Willock, 6 Ves. 605. In Hemiup, 3 Paige 305. It does not appear that Philbrick, while holding the estate, received any......
  • Smith v. Lloyd
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts Supreme Court
    • May 19, 1916
    ...which his conclusions have been reached, and to decide whether they are correct. These principles long have been established. Nichols v. Ela, 124 Mass. 333, 336;Parker v. Nickerson, 137 Mass. 487, 490, 491. It is the duty of a master to report evidence so far as necessary to present intelli......
  • Young v. Winkley
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts Supreme Court
    • May 17, 1906
    ...retainer be reported, but that the entire evidence relative to the retainer be reported. This the master was not bound to do. See Nichols v. Ela, 124 Mass. 333. The last objection raised by Winkley is in regard to interest allowed in the final decree. This decree ordered Kinkley to pay to Y......
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