Bernier v. Boston Edison Co.

403 N.E. 2d 391



For purposes of limitations, the date of commencement of the action tolls the statute, even in respect to a transaction-related defendant added after the running of the statutory period.


Defendant electric company appealed a decision of a United States District Court which entered judgment in favor of plaintiff teenagers in two consolidated actions for injuries that were suffered when an automobile knocked over an electric pole and struck plaintiffs as they walked down a sidewalk. Defendant drivers collided in an intersection, and one became dazed and unknowingly let her foot slip from the brake to the gas pedal. She accelerated across the street and down a sidewalk, where she knocked down an electric light pole owned by defendant electric company. The pole struck plaintiff teenagers on the sidewalk. Both plaintiffs were injured and commenced actions against defendant drivers, which were consolidated, and defendant electric company was later joined. The jury returned verdicts against one defendant driver and defendant electric company, and defendant electric company appealed, arguing, inter alia, that the interest on the damage award should have been calculated from the date of its joinder. 


Was the interest was properly calculated from the date when the action was initiated?




The court took the case on its own motion for appellate review, and affirmed. The court held that the interest was properly calculated from the date when the action was initiated because the statute was literal in its award of interest to compensate for the delay in plaintiffs' obtaining their money. The fact that defendant electric company was added later did not affect plaintiffs' entitlement to interest from the date of commencement of the action.

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