The person who for his own purposes brings on his lands and collects and keeps there anything likely to do mischief if it escapes, must keep it in at his peril, and, if he does not do so, is prima facie answerable for all the damage which is the natural consequence of its escape. But this rule does not apply where the injury results from the act of God which the owner had no reason to anticipate.
The defendants owned a hydroelectric plant in Ludlow in the Red Bridge area. As a result of the hurricane of September 21, 1938, the Chicopee River overflowed and damaged the real estate of the several plaintiffs. In these actions of tort the first count of the several declarations alleged that no permit or decree or approval of the county commissioners was secured by the defendants for the construction, maintenance, and operation of the Alden Street dike. The second count alleged negligence in the maintenance of that dike. The trial court directed verdicts in favor of defendants.
Did the trial court err in not holding the defendants liable?
The court found that the defendants could not be held liable for the damage caused by the flood because it was an act of God and excluded from strict liability rules. The court affirmed the judgments of the trial court.