Monday, November 11, 2013

Hebert v. Enos case brief

Hebert v. Enos case brief summary
806 N.E.2d 452 (Mass. App. 2003)

Plaintiff personal injury victim brought an action to recover for personal injuries he suffered as a result of receiving a severe electric shock. He filed a negligence claim against defendant homeowner and plaintiff wife sought damages for loss of consortium. The Superior Court Department, Middlesex (Massachusetts), granted the homeowner's motion for summary judgment. Plaintiffs appealed.


The victim was watering the homeowner's flowers as a favor. Upon grabbing the outside water faucet, he received an electric shock that threw him through the air, melted his sneakers and glasses, set his pants on fire, and knocked his dental plate from his mouth. He suffered serious injuries.


  • The appellate court held that plaintiffs submitted sufficient evidence to establish that faulty repairs of the toilet by the homeowner resulted in flooding and severe electric shock to the victim when he touched the faucet. 
  • However, summary judgment was properly granted because the harm the victim suffered was so highly extraordinary that the homeowner could not be required to guard against it. 
  • The victim's severe and unfortunate injuries were the consequence of the type of unforeseeable accident for which the homeowner was not to be held responsible in tort. 
  • Although a variety of foreseeable injuries arising out of a defective toilet could be envisioned, the electric shock to a neighbor when he touched a faucet outside the house was well beyond the range of reasonable apprehension and therefore was not foreseeable.


The judgment of the trial court was affirmed.

Suggested Study Aids For Tort Law

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