Nichols v. Holyoke St. Ry. Co.

Decision Date20 October 1924
Citation250 Mass. 88,145 N.E. 33
PartiesNICHOLS v. HOLYOKE ST. RY. CO. (two cases). SAME v. DOWD (two cases).
CourtUnited States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts Supreme Court


Exceptions from Superior Court, Hampden County; C. T. Callahan, Judge.

Actions of tort by Laura Nichols and by Leon Nichols, respectively, against the Holyoke Street Railway Company and James J. Dowd, respectively, for injuries in automobile collision alleged to have been caused by negligence of defendant automobilist and hole in street dug by street railway. Verdicts for defendants, and plaintiffs bring exceptions. Exceptions overruled.

1. Highways k183-Unregistered motor vehicle is ‘nuisance.'

Unregistered motor vehicle is ‘nuisance’ on highways, under St. 1909, c. 534, s 9.

[Ed. Note.-For other definitions, see Words and Phrases, First and Second Series, Nuisance.]

2. Highways k183-Ford touring car with truck body held ‘nuisance’ on highway, when registration not changed.

Where owner of Ford touring car for temporary purposes removed body and put truck body on, without changing registration or license plate, vehicle became nuisance on highway, under St. 1909, c. 534, and no recovery could be had for injury to it, or those riding in it, in collision.

R. P. & E. J. Stapleton, of Springfield, for plaintiffs.

W. H. Brooks, J. P. Kirby, D. H. Keedy, and C. Brooks, all of Springfield, for defendant Holyoke St. Ry. Co.

Green & Bennett, of Springfield, for defendant Dowd.


On December 21, 1920, an automobile owned and operated by the defendant Dowd struck an automobile owned by the plaintiff Laura and operated by the plaintiff Leon, driving it into an excavation which the defendant Holyoke Street Railway Company had made in Dwight street, Holyoke. The several plaintiffs brought separate actions for damages against the defendants. The four cases were tried together in the superior court. At the conclusion of the evidence the judge directed verdicts for the defendants, and the cases are before us upon the plaintiffs' exceptions to the correctness of these orders.

There was no evidence of willful or wanton recklessness on the part of either defendant. The defendants contended that the plaintiffs were trespassers without right upon the highway at the time of the accident because their automobile was not legally registered. Without dispute, the evidence showed that in October of 1920, Laura Nichols registered, in her name, an automobile described in the application and certificate as ‘Ford touring; engine number 2361185; horse power 22. * * *’ This car she used for pleasure driving until a day or two before the accident. She carried on, with some assistance from her husband, who was a carpenter, a business in Christmas trees and wreaths, and used for deliveries an Oakland truck belonging to her husband. This truck needed repairs, and she decided to use the Ford machine temporarily for deliveries while the Oakland was out of use. She, however, wished not to scratch the touring car body of the Ford machine. So she purchased a secondhand ‘delivery body’ from dealers in secondhand bodies and parts, and on December 19 or 20 removed the touring car body from the Ford chassis, taking, off everything back of the hood, and put in its place the delivery body. This called merely for loosening six bolts, exchanging the ‘delivery’ for the touring car body upon the chassis, and tightening up the bolts. The delivery body consisted of a windshield, seat and a boxlike body having six posts to keep a load from falling off, and a back board which let down at the rear. No other change was made; engine, chassis, wheels, remained as before; but what had been a touring car now bore the characteristic appearance of a Ford truck, though, in fact, the chassis was lighter than that of a regular Ford truck. The registry plates for the touring car were continued in use on the machine in its changed form. No new registration was taken out.

The car which was struck by Dowd's automobile and driven into the excavation made by the street railway appeared to be, and indeed was, referred to by several witnesses as a ‘Ford truck.'

The judge in directing the jury to return verdicts for the defendants went upon the ground that the vehicle in which the plaintiffs were riding as owner and operator was not then registered in accordance with law.

[1][2] The law is well settled that an unregistered motor vehicle is a...

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3 cases
  • Nash v. Lang
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts Supreme Court
    • September 16, 1929
    ...241 Mass. 462, 135 N. E. 553, and Koley v. Williams (Mass.) 164 N. E. 444. It bears no resemblance to cases like Nichols v. Holyoke Street Railway, 250 Mass. 88, 145 N. E. 33,Bacon v. Boston Elevated Railway, 256 Mass. 30, 152 N. E. 35, 47 A. L. R. 1100,Wallace v. New Bedford & Onset Street......
  • Cook v. Crowell
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts Supreme Court
    • November 28, 1930 caused solely by a defendant's negligence. Downey v. Bay State Street Railway, 225 Mass. 281, 114 N. E. 207;Nichols v. Holyoke Street Railway Co., 250 Mass. 88, 145 N. E. 33. It is settled law in this commonwealth that a driver continues to operate a car on the highway during the time it......
  • Faria v. Veras
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts Supreme Court
    • September 18, 1937
    ...v. Conquest, 274 Mass. 347, 351, 174 N.E. 677;Emeneau v. Hillery, 282 Mass. 280, 284, 184 N.E. 720. See, also, Nichols v. Holyoke Street Railway Co., 250 Mass. 88, 145 N.E. 33. The certificate of registration, however, is issued by the ‘registrar or his duly authorized agents.’ See G.L.(Ter......

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