Wright v. Commonwealth

Citation286 Mass. 371,190 N.E. 593
Decision Date25 May 1934
CourtUnited States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts


Exceptions from Superior Court, Middlesex County; R. H. Beaudreau, Judge.

Petition by Gladys B. Wright for assessment of damages for taking of land and injury to remaining land in exercise of the power of eminent domain by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for the construction of a state highway. Verdict for petitioner, and the Commonwealth brings exceptions.

Exceptions overruled.

H. M. Leen, of Boston, for plaintiff.

J. Wentworth, of Boston, for the Commonwealth.

RUGG, Chief Justice.

This is a petition for the assessment of damages for the value of land taken and injury to remaining land caused by the exercise of eminent domain for the construction of a State highway. Prior to the time of the taking the petitioner owned three and twenty-five one hundredths acres of land in the town of Weston. A part of this land was low and swampy, through which a brook ran. The remaining land was high and at the highest point there were a house and garage, the house being used by the plaintiff and her husband as their residence. The taking comprised thirty-three thousand nine hundred square feet of land. It was all low land and at its nearest point was about one hundred thirty-five feet from the house. It constituted a strip about one hundred twenty feet wide on the northerly side of the petitioner's estate. A highway was straightway constructed on the northerly half of this strip as part of a by-pass leading from one part of the Post Road, so-called, south of the main village of the town of Weston, to the Post Road at some distance further on.

The plaintiff was allowed to testify subject to exception that she was unable to sleep on the northerly side of the house after the by-pass had been put into operation.’ Noise, glaring lights and other inconveniences connected with heavy traffic on a new highway, so far as likely to affect the comfort of ordinary people, might be found to be elements of damage to the remaining estate of the plaintiff, so far as the proximity of disagreeable factors was due to the taking, but not otherwise. Walker v. Old Colony & Newport Railway, 103 Mass. 10, 14, 15,4 Am. Rep. 509;Wesson v. Washburn Iron Co., 13 Allen, 95, 90 Am. Dec. 181;Lincoln v. Commonwealth, 164 Mass. 368, 376, 377, 41 N. E. 489. This element of damage could rightly be measured by the effect of these unpleasant features upon ordinary people and not upon the plaintiff personally. Sturtevant v. Ford, 280 Mass. 303, 317, 318, 319, 182 N. E. 560. The form of the evidence as admitted was awkward and unfortunate. But the witness may have been found to be a normal and ordinary person as to sleep and, if so, her testimony would have been competent upon a proper question. No contention has been made that the charge was not accurate and did not properly restrict the evidence and fully state the correct rule for the assessment of damages in this respect. In our opinion it cannot quite be said that there was reversible error in this particular.

There was excluded testimony as to the sale price, a few months later than the taking, of seven and a half acres of land without buildings but otherwise very similar to the estate of the...

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21 cases
  • Amory v. Commonwealth
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts Supreme Court
    • April 9, 1947
    ...v. Old Colony R., 219 Mass. 483, 107 N.E. 365;James Miller Co. v. Commonwealth, 251 Mass. 457, 464, 146 N.E. 677;Wright v. Commonwealth, 286 Mass. 371, 190 N.E. 593, and an exercise of his discretion should rarely be reversed. Paine v. Boston, 4 Allen 168;Chandler v. Jamaica Pond Aqueduct C......
  • Hannan v. United States
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — District of Columbia Circuit
    • June 29, 1942
    ...this fact is upon the party offering the evidence. City of Mt. Olive v. Braje, 1937, 366 Ill. 132, 7 N.E.2d 851; Wright v. Commonwealth, 1934, 286 Mass. 371, 190 N.E. 593; Eames v. Southern New Hampshire Hydro-Electric Corp., supra; Kankakee Park Dist. v. Heidenreich, 1927, 328 Ill. 198, 15......
  • Assessors of Quincy v. Boston Consol. Gas Co.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts Supreme Court
    • May 26, 1941
    ... ... cooking, general business conditions, the regulation of the ... gas industry by the Commonwealth and the locality where the ... business was conducted, found that the fair cash value of the ... property on January 1, 1935, was $1,750,000 and ... by the taxpayer. Great Barrington v. County ... Commissioners, 112 Mass. 218 ... Wright v ... Lowell, 166 Mass. 298. Blackstone Manuf. Co. v ... Blackstone, 200 Mass. 82 ...        The list should ... enumerate all the ... ...
  • Newton Girl Scout Council, Inc. v. Massachusetts Turnpike Authority
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts Supreme Court
    • December 13, 1956
    ...thus destroying the seclusion and rural remoteness of the campsite, bringing to it the noise of heavy traffic, see Wright v. Commonwealth, 286 Mass. 381, 372-373, 190 N.E. 593, where traffic noises were taken into account in assessing damages, as well as the risk of unwelcome and unpleasant......
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