Regan v. Atlantic Ref. Co.

Decision Date28 November 1939
Citation304 Mass. 353,23 N.E.2d 869
PartiesREGAN v. ATLANTIC REFINING CO.
CourtUnited States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts Supreme Court

OPINION TEXT STARTS HERE

Report from Superior Court, Suffolk County; Walsh, Judge.

Action by Margaret Regan against the Atlantic Refining Company for personal injuries allegedly suffered by slipping and falling upon ice in defendant's driveway. On report from the superior court.

Judgment for defendant.

M. Michelson, of Boston, for plaintiff.

W. White, of Boston, for defendant.

LUMMUS, Justice.

The plaintiff suffered bodily injury on January 23, 1935, by slipping and falling upon ice in the defendant's driveway. The only question relates to compliance with G.L.(Ter.Ed.) c. 84, § 21, which requires in such a case written notice of the time, place and cause of the injury to be given to the defendant within thirty days after the injury. De Prizio v. F. W. Woolworth Co., 291 Mass. 143, 196 N.E. 910;Klein v. Boston Elevated Railway, 293 Mass. 238, 200 N.E. 6. See also Berlandi v. Union Freight R. Co., Mass., 16 N.E.2d 17.

In the absence of express provision to the contrary, a notice is not given until received by the person to be notified. Deposit in the mail is evidence of notice, but is not of itself notice. O'Neil v. Boston, 257 Mass. 414, 153 N.E. 884;Schneider v. Boston Elevated Railway, 259 Mass. 564, 566, 156 N.E. 734;In re Thorndike, 270 Mass. 334, 170 N.E. 67;Sweeney v. Morey & Co., Inc., 279 Mass. 495, 499, 500, 181 N.E. 782;Sheldon v. Bennett, 282 Mass. 240, 246, 184 N.E. 722;Amsler v. Quincy, Mass., 8 N.E.2d 9.

Since the giving of the notice is necessary to complete the cause of action, the burden is on the plaintiff to allege and prove that the notice was given before the action was commenced. Finneran v. Graham, 198 Mass. 385, 84 N.E. 473,15 Ann.Cas. 291;Miller v. Rosenthal, 258 Mass. 368, 155 N.E. 3. See also Greem v. Cohen, Mass., 11 N.E.2d 492;Berlandi v. Union Freight R. Co., Mass., 16 N.E.2d 17.

Both the notice and the writ were dated February 14, 1935. There was evidence, consisting of stamps on the envelope that contained the notice, of delivery of the notice on February 15, 1935. Wigmore, Evid. (2d Ed.) §§ 151, 2152. There was no evidence of delivery on any earlier day. An action is commenced when a writ is made out with an unconditional intent to have it served in due course. Sometimes a requirement of delivery to an officer with that intent has been added, but we need not consider that requirement in this case. Parker v. Rich, Mass., 8 N.E.2d 345, and cases cited. Compare Bunker v. Shed, 8 Metc. 150;Pierce v. Tiernan, 280 Mass. 180, 182, 182 N.E. 292;Smith v. Greeley, 291 Mass. 271, 196 N.E. 903. There was no evidence of the time when the writ in the present case was delivered to an officer, as there was in Veginan v. Morse, 160 Mass. 143, 146, 35 N.E. 451. It was not served until February 18, 1935.

The date appearing upon a writ is prima facie evidence that the action was commenced on the day stated. Farrell v. German American Ins. Co., 175 Mass. 340, 346, 56 N.E. 572;Finneran v. Graham, 198 Mass. 385, 84 N.E. 473,15 Ann.Cas. 291; O'Brien v. McManama, 281 Mass. 89, 183 N.E. 176;Cincotta v. Dupuy, 294 Mass. 298, 299, 300, 1 N.E.2d 182;B. M. C. Durfee Trust Co. v. Turner, Mass., 12 N.E.2d 847. But fairly slight circumstances may warrant an inference that the writ was made out provisionally or conditionally, and not as the present commencement of an action. Pierce v. Tiernan, 280 Mass. 180, 182 N.E. 292;Rosenblatt v. Foley, 252 Mass. 188, 147 N.E. 558;Smith v. Greeley, 291 Mass. 271, 196 N.E. 903. The plaintiff cites Federhen v. Smith, 3 Allen 119, to show that the fact that the action could not lawfully be brought until after notice had been given is some evidence that the writ was not intended to be effective before. But that would be inconsistent with the later case of Finneran v. Graham, 198 Mass. 385, 84 N.E. 473,15 Ann.Cas. 291, where the writ was dated the same day on which the notice was given, and it was held that there was no evidence that the notice preceded the commencement of the...

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10 cases
  • Police Com'r of Boston v. Robinson
    • United States
    • Appeals Court of Massachusetts
    • September 21, 1999
    ...Costello v. Board of Appeals of Lexington, 3 Mass.App.Ct. 441, 443, 333 N.E.2d 210 (1975), quoting from Regan v. Atlantic Ref. Co., 304 Mass. 353, 354, 23 N.E.2d 869 (1939). Unless a statute provides expressly for other means of giving notice, such as mailing within a limited time period re......
  • Conte v. School Committee of Methuen
    • United States
    • Appeals Court of Massachusetts
    • October 27, 1976
    ...committee. So ordered. *265_7 Other Massachusetts statutes dealing with notice have been interpreted strictly. Regan v. Atlantic Ref. Co., 304 Mass. 353, 354, 23 N.E.2d 869 (1939). Ferreira v. Gross, 323 Mass. 175, 177, 80 N.E.2d 481 (1948). Rooney v. Ludlow Mfg. & Sales Social & Athletic C......
  • State v. Durbin, L-91-285
    • United States
    • Ohio Court of Appeals
    • October 16, 1992
    ...it comes into the hands of the one sought to be served. Johnson v. Barreiro, 59 Cal.App.2d 213, 138 P.2d 746; Regan v. Atlantic Refining Co., 304 Mass. 353, 23 N.E.2d 869; George v. Adamson, 184 Okl. 289, 86 P.2d 980. * * * ' School Dist. No. 6 of Pima Cty. v. Barber (1958), 85 Ariz. 95, 96......
  • Ledbetter v. School Dist. No. Eight, El Paso County
    • United States
    • Colorado Supreme Court
    • June 19, 1967
    ...has also been followed in nonschool cases. E.g., Johnson v. Barreiro, 59 Cal.App.2d 213, 138 P.2d 746 (1943); Regan v. Atlantic Refining Co., 304 Mass. 353, 23 N.E.2d 869 (1939). The rule is also set forth in 39 Am.Jur., Notice and Notices § 9 where it is 'Where a statute requires notice to......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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