Ward v. McGlory

Decision Date08 December 1970
Citation265 N.E.2d 78,358 Mass. 322
CourtUnited States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts Supreme Court
PartiesWalter H. WARD, executor and individually, v. Robert F. McGLORY et al. 1

Kendall Burford, for plaintiff.

C. A. Peairs, Worcester, for defendant McGlory.

Channing R. Coveney, Milton, for Massachusetts Electric Co.


KIRK, Justice.

This is a bill in equity to require the defendant McGlory to remove two electric wire poles erected on the land of the plaintiff and to enjoin the defendant Massachusetts Electric Company from transmitting electricity across the land. The plaintiff also seeks damages.

Following a trial in the Superior Court the judge entered a decree adjudging that an easement granted in a deed executed in 1948 from the plaintiff's predecessors in title to the defendant McGlory conveyed by implication the right to erect poles and maintain electric wires on the roadway referred to in the terms of the easement and to transmit electric current by wires appropriate to the use and enjoyment of the conveyed premises. The bill was dismissed as to both defendants. The plaintiff appeals.

The case is before us on a transcript of the oral evidence, a report of material facts and documentary evidence. In these circumstances, we may find facts not expressly found by the judge but his express findings which are based in part on oral evidence will not be overturned unless plainly wrong. Selig v. Wexler, 355 Mass. 671, 247 N.E.2d 567; McMahon v. Monarch Life Ins. Co., 345 Mass. 261, 262--263, 186 N.E.2d 827. We may, however, draw our own conclusions from documentary evidence unaffected by the conclusions of the court below. Commonwealth v. Wiseman, 356 Mass. 251, 256--257, 249 N.E.2d 610, and cases cited therein.

We summarize the facts found by the judge, augmented by facts agreed to by the parties during the trial and by documentary evidence.

The plaintiff's and McGlory's lands were formerly part of a single tract owned by James and Mary Ward, now deceased. In 1948, the Wards conveyed twenty-five acres of this tract to McGlory. The plaintiff is the Wards' successor in title to the remaining land. McGlory's land is bounded by the plaintiff's land on three sides and by other privately owned land on the fourth side. It is inaccessible to a public road except for a right of way created by the 1948 deed over the plaintiff's land. The deed recited that the conveyance was made '(t)ogether with a right of way over other land of the grantors on the existing roadway east of the barn.' The roadway is a single lane dirt road which has not changed in location or condition since 1948.

In 1955, McGlory erected two poles supporting electric wires approximately ten feet from the roadway on the land of the plaintiff. The plaintiff has actively opposed the installation since 1955 but took no court action prior to the filing of the present bill. McGlory has been in the pig-raising business since 1948. He claims that electricity is necessary for its operation. Until 1955, however, he did not operate the farm in the winter and did not need electricity.

The decree cannot stand. The extent to which an express easement includes unspecified uses is determined 'by the language of the grant construed in the light of the attending circumstances which have a legitimate tendency to show the intention of the parties as to the extent and character of the contemplated use of the way.' Doody v. Spurr, 315 Mass. 129, 133, 51 N.E.2d 981, 983. The easement granted by the Wards contains specific language limiting the right of way 'on the existing roadway.' The roadway has not changed since the creation of the easement. The defendant McGlory's rights in the easement were limited to the surface of the roadway as it has existed since 1948. Dunham v. Dodge, 235 Mass. 367, 371--372, 126 N.E. 663; Frawley v. Forrest, 310 Mass. 446, 451, 38 N.E.2d 631. The installation of the poles ten feet from the road on the plaintiff's land violated the express terms of the easement and constituted a trespass.

Nor can the 1948 grant be construed to include an implied easement of necessity. An implied easement is 'founded on the idea that it is the purpose of the parties that the conveyance shall be beneficial to the grantee.' Orpin v. Morrison, 230 Mass. 529, 533, 120 N.E. 183, 185. An implied easement of necessity, however, is not created because it is necessary to the grantee, but rather to effectuate the intent of the parties. Home Inv. Co. v. Iovieno, 243 Mass. 121, 124, 137 N.E. 382. In the present case, the grant contains no pole or wire easement. There are no circumstances indicating that McGlory and his grantors contemplated that the easement included the right to erect poles on or off the roadway. Although every right necessary to the enjoyment of an easement is included in it by implication (Sullivan v. Donohoe, 287 Mass. 265, 267, 191 N.E. 364), this court has consistently held that a general right of way 'does not include the right to lay pipes or to erect structures in or upon the way.' Ampagoomian v. Atamian, 323 Mass. 319, 322, 81 N.E.2d 843, 845, and cases cited therein. We have applied this rule to electric light poles. Crullen v. Edison Elec. Illuminating Co. of Boston, 254 Mass. 93,...

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18 cases
  • In re Worldcom, Inc.
    • United States
    • U.S. Bankruptcy Court — Southern District of New York
    • July 20, 2005
    ...constitutes a continuing trespass cites to City of Shawnee, Kansas v. AT & T Corp., 910 F.Supp. 1546 (D.Kan.1995), Ward v. McGlory, 358 Mass. 322, 265 N.E.2d 78 (Ma.1970) and Chatham v. Clark Laundry, Inc., 126 Ga.App. 652, 191 S.E.2d 589 (1972). West asserts that these cases distinguished ......
  • City of Shawnee, Kan. v. AT & T CORP.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of Kansas
    • December 22, 1995
    ...transmission through the cable is a new trespass. At least one court, however, has accepted Shawnee's argument. In Ward v. McGlory, 358 Mass. 322, 265 N.E.2d 78, 80 (1970), the Massachusetts Supreme Court held that even though the Massachusetts Electric Company did not install the wires or ......
  • Kitras v. Town of Aquinnah
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts Supreme Court
    • April 19, 2016
    ...shall be beneficial to the grantee,’ ” even if it had not been expressed in the instrument of conveyance. Ward v. McGlory, 358 Mass. 322, 325, 265 N.E.2d 78 (1970), quoting Orpin v. Morrison, 230 Mass. 529, 533, 120 N.E. 183 (1918). An easement by necessity most often arises when a conveyan......
  • Kitras v. Town of Aquinnah
    • United States
    • Appeals Court of Massachusetts
    • January 14, 2015
    ...the interests of the grantees. Instead, the doctrine is designed “to effectuate the intent of the parties.” Ward v. McGlory, 358 Mass. 322, 325, 265 N.E.2d 78 (1970).To allow contemporary circumstances to inform a determination of the intent of the parties at the time of a conveyance of lan......
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