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ing no pecuniary benefit therefrom, will not, in my opinion, be liable in damages for injuries resulting to pupils from accidents in such department; nor will the school officers be liable except for injuries caused by their own wrongful act or negligence. Very truly yours,

THOMAS J. BOYNTON, Attorney-General.

Labor

Right to fine Employees for Damages.

Except in certain cases prohibited by statute, employers of labor may, where provision is made in the contract of employment, lawfully withhold money, due employees as wages, to cover damage to the employer caused by the negligent or wrongful act of the employee.

State Board of Labor and Industries.

GENTLEMEN:

JAN. 6, 1915.

You have requested my opinion upon the following question:

Have employers of labor the right to fine employees for damage done by them, as in the breaking of dishes, spoiling goods in process of manufacture or damage to machinery?

A servant is directly liable to his master for any damage occasioned by his negligence or misconduct in connection with his work, whether such damage be directly to the property of the master or arises from compensation which he has been obliged to make to third persons for injuries sustained by them through the negligence or misconduct of the servant. 26 Cyc., p. 1023.

In a case in which the plaintiff sued a subcontractor on work done for the plaintiff, charging the subcontractor with negligence, the Supreme Judicial Court said:

It is immaterial whether the defendants are to be regarded as the servants and agents of the plaintiff or as contractors under the principal contractor, which the defendants contend was the case. In either instance they owed the plaintiff the duty of not injuring his property by their neglect or wrongful acts. If they were the plaintiff's servants and their negligent actions caused injury to his building, they would be liable to him for the damage. (Bacon's Abridgement, Master and Servant, M.).

Smith, Master and Servant, 4th ed. 134, and cases cited; White v. Phillipston, 10 Met. 108; Walcott v. Swampscott, 1 Allen, 101; Bickford v. Richards, 154 Mass. 163.

If, then, dishes are broken or goods spoiled in process of manufacturing or damage is done to machinery through the negligence or misconduct of the employee, the employee is directly liable to the employer for the damage so caused. There seems to be no doubt that where it is made a part of the contract of employment that such damages shall be adjusted and taken out of the wages of the employee, the contract is lawful and may be enforced. Gallagher v. Hathaway Mfg. Co., 172 Mass. 230.

There is a statute in regard to fines imposed on weavers which need not be discussed here, but I have found no statute in regard to fines imposed by employers in any other industry.

It is not to be understood that fines may be imposed arbitrarily or at the mere whim or caprice of the employer, but for a just cause and to a fair and just amount. In cases in which the contract of employment provides for it, the employer may, in my opinion, lawfully withhold money due the employee as wages to cover damages to the employer caused by the negligent or wrongful act of the employee.

Very truly yours,

THOMAS J. BOYNTON, Attorney-General.

Cities and Towns - Public Domain

Sales.

Land acquired for a public domain under St. 1914, c. 564, cannot be sold or used for any purpose not specified in the act without the authority of the Legislature.

Land acquired by a city or town for a public domain, and placed under the management of the State Forester, must be maintained at the expense

of such city or town.

F. W. RANE, Esq., State Forester.

JAN. 8, 1915.

DEAR SIR: You ask whether under the provisions of section 1 of chapter 564 of the Acts of 1914 a town or city having taken land for a public domain has the right to dispose of the land by sale or by making use of it for purposes other than the culture of forest trees; and second, in case the State Forester is given supervision of such public domain by the town, under section 2 of said chapter, whether the cost of control and management should be paid by the town or by the Forester's department.

The provisions of the first two sections of said act, so far as material, are as follows:

SECTION 1. A town or a city . . may take or purchase land within their limits, which shall be a public domain, and may appropriate money and accept gifts of money and land therefor; . . . Such public domain shall be devoted to the culture of forest trees, or to the preservation of the water supply of such city or town and the title thereto shall vest in the city or town in which it lies.

SECTION 2. The city or town forester in each city or town shall have the management and charge of all such public domain in that city or town . . . But a town . . . or a city . . . may place all such public domain within its limits under the general supervision and control of the state forester, who shall thereupon, upon notification thereof, make regulations for the care and use of such public domain and for the planting and cultivating of trees therein, and the city or town forester in such case and his keepers, under the supervision and direction of the state forester, shall be charged with the duty of enforcing all such regulations and of performing such labor therein as may be necessary for the care and maintenance thereof. . . .

Lands acquired under this act cannot, in my opinion, be sold by the town or used for any purpose other than the culture of forest trees or for the preservation of the water supply of the city or town making the taking, without first obtaining permission or authority from the Legislature to make the sale or to change the use.

In response to your second question I have to say that the only difference in the regulation of such public domains as is contemplated by placing them under the supervision and control of the State Forester in accordance with the provisions of section 2, above quoted, is to secure the advantage of a trained forester over the planting and cultivation of trees. The public domains still remain the property of the city or town, and all expenses must be defrayed by the city or town even though supervision and control have been vested in the State Forester.

Very truly yours,

THOMAS J. BOYNTON, Attorney-General.

Employment of Labor - Building Laws.

A building containing two or more establishments, each establishment employing less than ten persons but in the aggregate ten or more persons, comes within the provisions of St. 1913, c. 655, §§ 15 and 20.

Gen. J. H. WHITNEY, Chief of the District Police.

DEAR SIR: - You ask:

JAN. 12, 1915.

Would a building containing two or more establishments, each employing less than ten persons but in the aggregate ten or more persons, come within the provisions of sections 15 and 20 of chapter 655 of the Acts of 1913?

You have quoted from the two sections the language most directly relating to your inquiry, as follows:

SECTION 15. No building which is designed to be used, in whole or in part, and no building in which alteration shall be made for the purpose of using it, or continuing its use, in whole or in part, as a public building, public or private institution, schoolhouse, church, theatre, special hall, public hall, miscellaneous hall, place of assemblage or place of public resort, or as a factory, workshop or mercantile or other establishment and to have accommodations for ten or more employees.

SECTION 20. A building which is used, in whole or in part, as a public building, public or private institution, schoolhouse, church, theatre, special hall, public hall, miscellaneous hall, place of assemblage or place of public resort, and a building in which ten or more persons are employed in a factory, workshop, mercantile or other establishment. . . .

In each of the foregoing quotations from the statute the clause "a factory, workshop, mercantile or other establishment" might be regarded as indicating one shop or factory, etc., as the object at which the law is aimed, but the real purpose of the statute is the preservation of life and safety. The mischief aimed at is the crowding of people together, not necessarily in a single workshop but in a single building, under such circumstances as to make their condition one of danger in case of fire unless proper safeguards are adopted. To say that though there are a hundred workmen employed in a building, yet so long as not more than nine are employed in any one shop or factory the building is not subject to the

inspection laws of the Commonwealth, would be to defeat the purpose of those laws in most important particulars. The clause above quoted was undoubtedly intended to, and does, relate to the building in which the factory, workshop or other place of employment may be located, and whenever ten or more persons are employed in a building, whether employed in one shop or factory or divided between two or more places within the building, that building is subject to the provisions of the two sections to which you refer.

Very truly yours,

THOMAS J. BOYNTON, Attorney-General.

Loan Agencies - Expenses of Loans

Interest.

Under St. 1911, c. 727, actual expenses actually incurred by the lender may be collected of a debtor.

Although the addition of actual expenses to the interest collected by a loan agency from a debtor would make the cost to the borrower more than 3 per cent. per month, the transaction is lawful under St. 1911, c. 727.

JAN. 18, 1915.

GEORGE C. NEAL, Esq., Deputy Chief of the District Police, Acting Supervisor of Loan Agencies.

DEAR SIR: You have requested my opinion upon the following questions:

(1) Under the Acts of 1911, chapter 727, and amendments thereto, can the supervisor of loan agencies require by regulation the borrower in negotiating a loan of less than $300 to pay any expense incurred by the lender connected with the making of such loan?

(2) If such expense may be demanded by regulation can the amount of such expense, together with the interest placed on the loan, exceed the sum of 3 per cent. a month?

The authority of the Supervisor of Loan Agencies in regard to making regulations is contained in section 4 of chapter 727 of the Acts of 1911, which provides as follows:

The supervisor shall, from time to time, establish regulations respecting the granting of licenses and the business carried on by the licensees, and by loan companies and associations established by special charter. He shall either personally, or by such assistants as he may designate, at least once a year, and oftener if he deems it necessary, investigate the affairs of such licensees, companies and associations and for that pur

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