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Articles Posted in Personal Injury

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In Massachusetts, whether a party has a duty to prevent harm depends, in part, on the relationship between the injured person and the party, but in other instances, the duty arises out of a party’s knowledge of the risk of harm. For example, universities do not have a general duty to protect students from self-harm. A university may have a duty, however, to prevent a student from committing suicide in certain instances. Recently, the Superior Court of Massachusetts elucidated when a university may be deemed negligent for failing to prevent a student from committing suicide. If you or your loved one suffered harm because of the negligent acts or failure to act of another party, it is advisable to speak with an experienced Massachusetts personal injury attorney regarding your potential causes of action.

Factual Background

Allegedly, the plaintiff’s decedent was enrolled at the defendant university in Boston. In April of his freshman year, he attempted suicide. The defendant university learned of the decedent’s attempt and transferred him to a hospital. After he was discharged, he met with the defendant university employee about his treatment going forward. The decedent then entered into a contract with the Dean of Freshman Students, which stated that the decedent would be permitted to remain on campus if he engaged in treatment. The decedent met with the defendant university employee on two occasions, where he expressed skepticism over the treatment.  He was not in treatment from May to September, however. In September, the decedent committed suicide.

It is reported that the decedent’s father filed a lawsuit against the university and several individuals employed by the university, asserting that they had a duty to take measures to prevent the decedent from committing self-harm and that the duty was breached. The defendants filed a motion to dismiss. Upon review, the court denied the motion.

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If a person sustains injuries at work, he or she may be able to pursue benefits from his or her employer via a workers’ compensation claim. While in some cases a person may be able to seek damages through a personal injury lawsuit instead of a workers’ compensation claim, if the harm arose out the person’s employment, the Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Act (MCWA) provides the person’s sole remedy. Recently, the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts analyzed whether the intentional acts of a supervisor that harmed an employee were considered incidental to the employee’s employment, so as to bar a personal injury claim. If you suffered harm at work, it is in your best interest to speak with a trusted Massachusetts workers’ compensation attorney to discuss what damages you may be owed.

Facts Regarding the Plaintiff’s Harm

It is alleged that the plaintiff worked for the defendant as a mechanic. The plaintiff’s work schedule changed, after which the plaintiff’s supervisor began subjecting the plaintiff to a hostile work environment. Specifically, the plaintiff was harassed for his religious beliefs, denied accommodations, and accosted after he took a picture of the supervisor smoking, which was prohibited.

Reportedly, the plaintiff began experiencing symptoms of fatigue. He was restricted from working temporarily, but when he returned to work, the harassment continued. The plaintiff was then terminated, after which he filed a lawsuit against the defendant, alleging assault and battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and violation of his civil rights. The defendant filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that the plaintiff’s claims were preempted by the MCWA.

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In many instances in which a Massachusetts resident suffers harm due to the negligence of a company, the company’s principal place of business is located in another state. As such, if the person files a lawsuit against the company in a Massachusetts court, an issue will arise as to whether Massachusetts can exercise jurisdiction over the company. Recently, the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts analyzed when a court is permitted to exercised jurisdiction over a foreign company in a slip and fall case that was ultimately transferred to a Rhode Island Court. If you were injured in an accident due to the negligence of an out of state defendant, it is sensible to meet with a  knowledgeable Massachusetts personal injury attorney regarding your options for pursuing damages.

Facts Regarding the Plaintiff’s Injury

It is alleged that the plaintiff, a Massachusetts resident, traveled to a hotel owned and operated by the defendant in Rhode Island to stay overnight prior to a flight to Florida from a nearby airport. The next morning, the plaintiff tripped and fell while she was leaving her hotel. She subsequently filed a lawsuit against the defendant in the Massachusetts Superior Court, alleging that the defendant’s negligence led to her fall and that the fall caused her to sustain severe injuries. The defendant removed the case to the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts, after which the defendant filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that there was no basis for Massachusetts to exercise jurisdiction over the plaintiff.

Exercising Personal Jurisdiction Over a Foreign Entity

When a defendant files a motion to dismiss due to lack of personal jurisdiction, the burden is on the plaintiff to show that jurisdiction is proper. Thus, the court will review the evidence in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. The plaintiff cannot rely on unsupported averments, however, but must set forth sufficient facts to show that jurisdiction is proper.

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Many sports and activities present an inherent risk of harm, and the people who engage in those activities are deemed to consent to the risk of the type of injury ordinarily caused by such activities. If a person engages in a reckless act during such an activity, though, they may potentially be held liable for the harm caused by the act. The appeals court of Massachusetts recently assessed the standard for imposing liability on a person for harm sustained during a sporting event, in a case in which a hockey player sustained significant injuries. If you sustained injuries due to the reckless acts of another person, it is in your best interest to consult an experienced Massachusetts personal injury attorney to discuss what compensation you may be owed.

Facts Surrounding the Plaintiff’s Injury

It is reported that the plaintiff was injured during a hockey game, that was held during a championship tournament.  The plaintiff, who was 17 years old, was checked into the boards by a player from the opposing team. It is disputed as to whether the hit was a charge, in violation of hockey rules. After the hit, the plaintiff fell to the ice and temporarily lost consciousness. While he was on the ice, his wrist was sliced by the blade of another player’s ice skate. The plaintiff subsequently suffered a partial permanent loss of his right hand, which was his dominant hand. He then filed a lawsuit against numerous defendants, including the player that struck him, alleging claims of recklessness and negligence. The defendants filed motions for summary judgment, which the court granted. The plaintiff appealed.

Liability for Harm Suffered During a Sporting Event

On appeal, the court noted that generally, issues of recklessness and negligence are issues for the jury, but when it is clear based upon the evidence of record that no rational interpretation would permit a finding of negligence, judgment in favor of the defendants is proper. The court stated that with regards to liability arising out of an act committed during a sporting event, participants engaged in such events have a duty to refrain from engaging in reckless acts.

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In a civil lawsuit, the complaint sets forth the plaintiff’s claims against the defendant, and if the allegations in the complaint are not properly pleaded, the complaint may be dismissed. Thankfully, Massachusetts’s liberal standards typically allow a plaintiff to file an amended complaint even if the initial complaint was dismissed. A plaintiff who wishes to pursue a claim following a dismissal of the complaint must comply with the statutory requirements, however, including the statute of limitations, or his or her claim may be barred in its entirety. Recently, the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts analyzed whether a plaintiff is barred from pursuing claims if the statute of limitations runs after the initial complaint is dismissed but before the amended complaint is filed, in a case in which the plaintiff alleged he was harmed in the workplace. If you suffered a work injury, it is advisable to speak with a Massachusetts personal injury attorney regarding your potential causes of action.

Factual and Procedural Background of the Case

It is reported that in January 2016, the plaintiff was injured in an industrial accident while at work. He filed a workers’ compensation claim following the accident and received a settlement. In January 2019, the plaintiff filed a lawsuit in the Massachusetts courts alleging negligence claims against the defendant corporation that owned the facility where the accident took place and the container that exploded, causing him harm, and other entities that distributed the container. The defendants removed the case to federal court and filed motions to dismiss, arguing lack of personal jurisdiction and failure to state a claim.

It is alleged that in July 2019, the court granted the defendants’ motions, dismissing the plaintiff’s complaint without prejudice and allowing him thirty days to file an amended complaint. The plaintiff filed an amended complaint later that month, after which the defendants filed motions to dismiss, arguing that the amended complaint was barred by the statute of limitations. In opposition, the plaintiff argued that the amended complaint was timely under the relation-back theory.

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It is not uncommon for a victim who has suffered injuries to name more than one defendant in a civil lawsuit. While naming multiple defendants allows a plaintiff to seek compensation from anyone liable for his or her harm, it may present issues in resolving claims against the defendants individually. This was demonstrated in a recent personal injury case decided by a Massachusetts appellate court, in which the court vacated a defendant’s order for certification of separate and final judgment. If you suffered harm due to the negligence of multiple parties, it is in your best interest to meet with a knowledgeable Massachusetts personal injury attorney to assess the claims that you may be able to pursue.

Factual Background of the Case

The plaintiff was a tenant of the defendant property owner. The stove in the plaintiff’s apartment was defective, but, rather than replace it, the defendant property owner hired the defendant repair company to repair the stove on three different occasions. The defendant repair company ultimately advised the plaintiff that the stove was fixed. When the plaintiff attempted to light the pilot light after it went out, however, he suffered severe burns on his right hand. He subsequently filed a lawsuit against both defendants.

The plaintiff and the defendant repair company reached a settlement and executed a release. The defendant repair company then filed a motion for entry of a final and separate judgment. The defendant property owner opposed the motion on the grounds that it was not warranted and that he had outstanding claims for indemnification. The judge granted the motion regardless, and the defendant property owner appealed.

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When a person is injured by a national corporation, pursuing damages against the corporation can be complicated. For example, the injured person must show that the court can exercise jurisdiction over the corporation and that the corporation can be held liable under the claims asserted, otherwise the injured person’s claims may fail. This was demonstrated in a recent case in which a plaintiff sought to hold a national drug company responsible for harm caused by a contrast agent administered during an MRI. If you sustained injuries due to the negligence of a corporation, it is prudent to meet with a skillful Massachusetts personal injury attorney to discuss what damages you may be able to recover.

Facts of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff underwent an MRI, during which he was given an injection of a gadolinium-based contrast agent, that was manufactured by the defendant. Following the MRI, the plaintiff suffered gadolinium retention in several organs, which caused him to suffer emotional and physical injuries. He filed a lawsuit against the defendant, alleging the defendant failed to warn the patient adequately of the risks associated with gadolinium. The defendant filed a motion to dismiss, arguing, in part, that the court lacked personal jurisdiction over the defendant, and that the plaintiff’s claims were preempted by federal law. The court granted the defendant’s motion but granted the plaintiff leave to amend the complaint.

Exercising Personal Jurisdiction Over an Out of State Corporation

A court can exercise general or specific personal jurisdiction over a defendant. In the subject case, the plaintiff conceded that the court did not have general personal jurisdiction over the defendant. Thus, the court’s analysis focused on whether specific personal jurisdiction could properly be exercised over the defendant.

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Car accidents are common in Massachusetts, and people involved in car accidents often sustain injuries and property damage. Thus, in many cases, a person who incurs damages due to a car accident will pursue claims against one of the drivers involved in the accident. There are numerous categories of damages a person can recover following a car accident, including damages for pain and suffering. Recently, the Appeals Court of Massachusetts discussed what a plaintiff must prove to recover damages for pain and suffering following a car accident, under Massachusetts law. If you suffered harm due to a car accident, it is advisable to speak with a diligent Massachusetts personal injury attorney regarding what damages you may be able to recover from the party that caused your harm.

Factual and Procedural Background of the Case

Allegedly, the plaintiff was riding as a passenger in a vehicle owned by a Vermont resident, when they were involved in an accident with a driver from Massachusetts. The plaintiff reportedly sustained injuries in the accident and subsequently asserted claims against the Massachusetts driver, the Vermont driver, the insurance company of each driver, and his own insurance company. Subsequently, each of the plaintiff’s claims was dismissed,with the exception of the negligence claims against each driver. A jury found that the Massachusetts driver was negligent but that her negligence was not the cause of the plaintiff’s alleged harm and, therefore, entered judgment on her behalf. The plaintiff appealed.

Recovering Damages for Pain and Suffering Following a Car Accident

On appeal, the court noted that during the trial, the plaintiff expressed that he was only seeking damages for pain and suffering from the Massachusetts driver. As such, he was required to prove his injuries met one of the enumerated threshold requirements set forth under Massachusetts law. Specifically, in Massachusetts, a plaintiff can only recover damages for pain and suffering in a lawsuit arising out of a motor vehicle collision in certain circumstances, which includes when the plaintiff’s medical expenses exceed $2,000.00.

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In Massachusetts, property owners generally have a duty to maintain their property in a reasonably safe condition for any lawful visitors. There are exceptions to the general rule, however, such as when the harm presented by a dangerous condition is open and obvious. Recently, the Appeals Court of Massachusetts discussed the open and obvious exception to a property owners’ duty to warn of hazardous conditions, in a case in which a child was injured while using a zip line. If you or your child were injured on someone else’s property, it is wise to meet with a seasoned Massachusetts personal injury attorney to discuss what you must prove to establish liability.

Factual Background

Allegedly, the older brother of the minor plaintiff spent the night at the home of the defendants. The next day, the minor plaintiff, who was six years old, accompanied his father to the home of the defendants to pick up his brother. When they arrived at the defendants’ home, the minor plaintiff noted a zip line in the backyard.

Reportedly, the minor plaintiff asked his father if he could use the zip line. The father lifted the minor plaintiff onto the zip line and guided him for a few feet and then let him go. The minor plaintiff fell shortly after that, sustaining multiple fractures. The minor plaintiff’s mother instituted a negligence claim against the defendants on behalf of the minor plaintiff, arguing that the zip line was unreasonably dangerous. The defendants filed a motion for summary judgment, which the trial court granted. The plaintiffs appealed. On appeal, the court affirmed.

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Under Massachusetts law, even if a party obtains a successful verdict at trial, the other side has the right to appeal. As with all civil pleadings, however, if a party fails to file a notice of appeal within the time required by law, it may result in a dismissal of the appeal. In a recent personal injury case decided by the Appeals Court of Massachusetts, the court explained what constitutes excusable neglect that would permit a party to file a late notice of appeal. If you suffered personal injuries due to someone else’s negligence, it is in your best interest to meet with a Massachusetts personal injury attorney adept at helping injured parties recover compensation to discuss your case.

Factual and Procedural History of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff suffered hip injuries while working at a site owned by the defendant.  He subsequently filed a personal injury lawsuit against the defendant. A jury found in favor of the plaintiff, and the defendant filed a motion for a new trial. The court denied the motion. Pursuant to the rules of appellate procedure, the defendant had thirty days to file a notice of appeal. The defendant did not file a notice, however, until eight days after the deadline had passed. The court permitted the late notice of appeal, after which the plaintiff appealed the order allowing late notice.

Excusable Neglect Permitting Late Filing

Pursuant to the Massachusetts Rules of Appellate Procedure, a party appealing a civil case is required to file a notice of appeal within thirty days of when the court enters a judgment or order denying a motion for a new trial. If a party misses this deadline, the court can only permit a motion for leave to file a late notice of an appeal if the party demonstrates excusable neglect. Excusable neglect is only meant to apply in extraordinary or unique circumstances, and not merely a delay caused by everyday oversight. Rather, excusable neglect should only be a valid explanation when it is required to remedy emergency situations.

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