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No Definite Contract.<,


No Definite Contract. FORMER NEIGHBOURS SUED. LLANDRIKl » SERVICE CLAIM. At Llandrindod W llls County Court, on Thurs- day, before His Honour, judge Wm. Evans, Mrs Minnie Eliza Lewis, wife of a signalman, resid- ing at Cecil Villas, sued former neighbours, Thomas and Mabel Wharton, now residing at Birkenhead, for X6 10s for services rendered. Mr Herbert Oliver, solicitor, Llandrindod Wells, for the complainant, stated that Mrs Wharton was confined on March 7th, 1914, and from that date to the 28th July complainant looked after her and the house. This was a period of 20 weeks, and .complainant claimed payment at the rate of 7/- per week. She received 10/- in November last, and now claimed for the £6 10s balance. Complainant, giving evidence, said that in Feruary, 1914, Mrs Wharton asked her if she would look after her during her confinement, and she consented. She was in the house practically all day from March 7th to July 27th, waiting upon Mrs Wharton, doing the house-work and cooking the husband's meals. She also did the washing and mending. Several times, when Mrs Wharton was paying other accounts, she said to witness, "I have nothing for you again, old girl, but I shall pay you in the end." When she went away in November, she gave witness a table and a clock for making a dress for her, and at the station she gave her 10/- for looking after her during the confinement, saying she would send more later on. She never sent anything. Cross-examined by Mr E. Powell Careless, solici- tor, Llandniddod Wells (who defended), complain- ant denied that the husband was present at the conversation in February. He worked at the quarry and earned about zCl a week. She did not also receive a fur rug, some aprons, collars and coal, but defendant did giver her 2/- for her little girl. The table she received was for making the dress. It was a kitchen table, worth about 3/6. In April 1914, she received 27/- for three weeks' Work at another house, but she did not go there till about 11 in the forenoon, while she started helping Mrs Wharton about 6 in the morning, and tier daughter took her place while she was away. Re-examined She used to do the Whartons^ washing and darning in her own home. It was Usual for neighbours to help each other, under such circumstances, but not for nothing. By His Honour The first time the claim for '7/- per week was mentioned was on December :26th last. Mrs Lydia Coates said she had rooms at the Whartons' house. Mrs Lewis used to come in and do all the cleaning, cooking, etc., during the period mentioned. Mrs Wharton told witness she was, going to pav complainant in a lump, as it would be better for her. Complainant's daughter used to come in and help her. Cross-examined Mrs Wharton did not say she was going to give complainant a present. She said she was going to pay her in a lump. Gertrude Evelyn Lewis, complainant s daugh ter, corroborated, and said that, when her mother went out of the Whartons' house, she used to go in and take her place. Mrs Wharton had said, in her hearing, that she should pay her mother in a lump. I Mr Careless, for the defence, pleaded that com- t plainant's services were voluntary, and such as were usually rendered to one another by people j in that station of life during confinements and other illnesses,. It was usual to give a present on such occasions, but not to pay a fixed sum per week. Defendants did not deny that complainant i had been very kind and helped them a lot, but, when she found it was a longer job than she ex- pected, she ought to have told them that she was going to ask for payment, and not send in a claim I for a large amount some time afterwards. De- fendants were not in a position to pay such an amount, and, had they known it would be claimed, they would have got someone else to do the work. ] Another woman had offered to do it without pay- ment. Mrs Wharton was then called and said she had a baby bom on 7th March, 1914. Previous to the, birth Mrs Lewis told she was not to ask Mrs Price to come and look after her, as she (Mrs Lewis) was nearer, and she would come. Witness left the town last November, and before going gave complainant 10/ She refused it at first, .telling witness she could not spare it, but After- wards a-ccepted it. She also gave her a large kitchen table, a tablecloth, about J-cwt. of coal, four aprons, two collarettes, and a fur rug, and also a silver brooch and 2/- for her daughter. It was not true that she promised to pay complainant, and the 26th December was the first time she was approached with regard to payment. The next letter she received was from a solicitor. Cross-examined She was not going to pay Mrs Price had she come. Mrs Price would probably have had her food there had she come, but com- plainant could have done so bad ehe wished; it, was there for her to eat. Witness would have helped anyone else in the same way without pay- -ment, even if it had lasted 20 -weeks. Mrs Price, who lived at that time at Crabtree Green, said she offered to see Mrs Wharton through her confinement, but she understood Mrs Lewis bad offered, to do so voluntarily, and she was nearer. She had never paid for assistance under similar circumstances. Cross-examined Had she gone, she would have had to take her two children, and they would all have had food at Mrs Wharton's. Nurse Watson, District Nurse, said she attend- ed Mrs Wharton, going there a short time each day, and she saw Mrs Lewis there. She had had considerable experience in that class of case, and the help given was usually voluntary, with a pres- ent at the end. She understood it was the same in this case. Thomas Wharton, the husband, said he was present during the conversation between his wife and Mrs Lewis in February, and no question of payment was mentioned. His Honour in giving judgment, said he gath- ered from the evidence that had the illness lasted only two or three weeks complainant would not have charged, and when she saw it was going to last longer, she ought to have asked for some- thing. He was not satisfied there was any con- tract, and from the evidence of the District Nurse he gathered that when there was not it was usual to give a present instead of making any fixed pay- ment. He must assume that in this case a present was given, and that there was no definite contract, and he must therefore give judgment for the de- fendants, but without costs. There was no doubt that Mrs Lewis did a lot of work, and for that reason there would be no costs.

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