Articles Posted in Personal Injury

Published on:

In Massachusetts, government entities and agencies can be held liable for negligence under the Massachusetts Tort Claims Act (Act). There are certain exceptions to the Act, however, that insulate municipalities and public employees from liability. A Massachusetts appellate court recently discussed when a municipality may be held liable for harm caused by negligent acts, in a case in which a bystander was injured during a police investigation. If you were injured by a person working for a government entity or municipality it is essential to speak with a knowledgeable Massachusetts personal injury attorney regarding the facts surrounding your harm and what damages you may be able to pursue.

Factual Background of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff was having a conversation on the sidewalk with her sister and her sister’s boyfriend, when they were approached by three police officers. The officers were responding to a 911 call made by the plaintiff’s sister, due to a domestic dispute with the boyfriend. One of the officers grabbed the boyfriend from behind and began to conduct a pat down and frisk the boyfriend. The boyfriend pulled a gun out of his pants and began shooting at the officers. The officers returned gunfire and subsequently fatally shot the boyfriend. During the exchange of gunfire, the plaintiff was shot in the leg by the boyfriend.

Reportedly, the plaintiff sued the defendant city, alleging a claim of negligence. The case proceeded to trial. Following the close of the plaintiff’s case, the defendant moved for a directed verdict. The trial court denied the defendant’s motion. At the close of the evidence the defendant renewed its motion, which was again denied. The jury awarded the plaintiff $253,391.73, which was reduced to $100,000 pursuant to the Act. The defendant then filed a motion for a judgment notwithstanding the verdict, which the court denied. The defendant appealed. Continue reading →

Published on:

If a person is harmed by a defective product, he or she can pursue a claim for damages from the manufacturer of the product. Even if you can prove a product is defective, however, you prove that the court can validly exercise jurisdiction over the manufacturer to recover compensation. The United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts recently discussed the requirements for exercising jurisdiction over a non-resident company, in a case in which the plaintiff was allegedly injured at work by a defective container. If you suffered harm due to a defective product you should meet with a skilled Massachusetts personal injury attorney to discuss what damages you may be able to pursue.

Factual and Procedural Background

Reportedly, the plaintiff, who lives in Massachusetts, worked at a chemical manufacturing company owned by the defendant employer. In January 2016, while the plaintiff was working, a defective container exploded, causing a fire. The plaintiff suffered severe injuries as a result of the explosion. He subsequently filed a workers’ compensation claim, and then filed a lawsuit against numerous defendants, including the manufacturer of the defective container. The defendant manufacturer moved the case to federal court, and then filed a motion to dismiss due to lack of personal jurisdiction. Upon review, the court granted the motion.

Exercising Jurisdiction Over Nonresident Companies

Under Massachusetts law, when personal jurisdiction is called into question the plaintiff bears the burden of proving a court’s exercise of personal jurisdiction is valid. In assessing whether personal jurisdiction can be exercised over a non-resident company a court must determine whether the exercise of jurisdiction comports with the Massachusetts long-arm statute and with the Due Process Clause of the United States Constitution.

Continue reading →

Published on:

In Massachusetts, business owners generally have an obligation to make their premises safe for visitors and can be held liable for any injuries caused by a dangerous condition on the property. There are some exceptions to the general rule, however, that permit business owners to avoid liability even if a person is injured in an accident caused by an unsafe condition on the business’s property. The United States Court of Appeals, First Circuit recently discussed one of these exceptions, in a case in which it found the business owner was not liable for a contractor’s harm, where the harm was caused by the condition the contractor was hired to remedy. If you were injured in an accident while you were visiting a business, it is prudent to meet with a trusted Massachusetts personal injury attorney to discuss whether you may be able to recover damages for your harm from the business owner.

Factual Scenario

It is alleged that the plaintiff worked for a cleaning company that was hired by the defendant car dealership to clean the dealership. The contract between the defendant and the cleaning company specified that the cleaning company was required to scrub all the service floors six times a week with a degreasing product. On the day of the alleged incident, the plaintiff was working at the defendant dealership. At one point, he walked around a pallet when he lost his balance and fell.

Reportedly, after the plaintiff fell, he observed an accumulation of oil on the floor by the pallet. After the fall, he continued to clean the dealership floors, including the area where he fell. It was ultimately revealed that the plaintiff suffered a significant knee injury in the fall. He subsequently filed a lawsuit against the defendant, asserting claims of negligence and failure to warn. The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that the condition was open and obvious. The court granted the defendant’s motion, noting that there is no duty to protect a plaintiff from a danger that the plaintiff was hired to cure. The plaintiff appealed.

Continue reading →

Published on:

There are drug stores throughout Massachusetts that people visit regularly to fill their prescriptions and purchase health and grooming implements. Drug stores are like any other retail establishment, in that they have a duty to make sure their premises are reasonably safe for any customers shopping in the store. The United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts recently addressed what a plaintiff must prove to recover damages following a slip and fall accident in a drug store. If you suffered injuries in a slip and fall accident in a retail store it is essential to consult a seasoned Massachusetts personal injury attorney to assess whether you may be able to seek compensation for your harm.

Factual Background of the Case

Reportedly, the plaintiff was shopping at the defendant drug store when she slipped and fell on a lip balm ball that was on the floor. She subsequently filed a lawsuit against the defendant, asserting a negligence claim. The defendant filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings, arguing that the plaintiff’s complaint failed to allege that the defendant owed plaintiff a duty or breached any duty owed. The plaintiff did not respond to the motion. The court subsequently granted the motion, dismissing the plaintiff’s claim.

Retail Store Liability for Plaintiff’s Harm

In Massachusetts, a retail store may be held liable for injuries suffered because of a dangerous condition on the premises that the store did not create, but only if the plaintiff can show that the store knew of or should have known of the dangerous condition, and that the condition posed an unreasonable risk of harm. Further, the plaintiff must show that the store could not reasonably have expected the plaintiff to discover the dangerous condition or protect himself or herself from harm and that the store failed to use reasonable care to protect the plaintiff.

Continue reading →

Published on:

Under Massachusetts law, a property owner has a duty to keep the property in a safe condition to prevent the harm of individuals entering the property. When a property owner breaches this duty and a person is injured due to a dangerous condition, the property owner may be liable for the injured person’s harm. In some instances, a dangerous condition will clearly constitute a breach of the duty to keep a property reasonably safe, but in other cases, such as when a person is injured due to a hidden defect, it may not be clear if the property owner should be held liable. Recently the Appeals Court of Massachusetts analyzed a property owners’ duty to disclose hidden defects in a case in which a contractor was injured when he fell through a roof that was structurally unsound. If you suffered injuries due to a hidden defect on a Massachusetts property it is vital to engage a skillful Massachusetts personal injury attorney to assist you in seeking any compensation you may be owed from the landowner.

Facts Regarding the Injured Party’s Fall

It is reported that the plaintiff was hired by the defendant contractor to install a roof on a building’s property. The defendant contractor was hired by the defendant property owner. Prior to the completion of the project, the defendant property owner advised the defendant contractor that he wanted the roof of the porch to be re-shingled. The plaintiff began working on the porch roof. Initially, the plaintiff used a ladder, but he then climbed onto the porch roof to continue re-shingling. The porch roof collapsed, causing the plaintiff to fall twelve feet to the ground. The plaintiff, who was a hemophiliac, required extensive medical treatment. He subsequently filed a negligence lawsuit against the defendant property owner and defendant contractor. The plaintiff ultimately settled with the defendant contractor.

Allegedly, it was undisputed that the porch roof was not a safe work surface. The plaintiff argued that the defendant property owner should be held liable for his injuries regardless, due to the fact that the roof had hidden defects. Following a trial, the jury found the defendant property owner negligent but found the plaintiff’s negligence exceeded the negligence of the property owner and therefore, awarded the plaintiff no damages. The plaintiff subsequently appealed.
Continue reading →

Published on:

It is commonly understood that parties harmed due to someone else’s negligence must pursue their claim within the time frame set forth by the applicable statute of limitations, otherwise they waive the right to recover. In certain instances, a statute of limitations can be tolled, such as in cases where an illness or defect could not have been discovered within the time permitted. In other cases, a statute of repose applies and strictly limits the time frame in which a case can be pursued.

Recently, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts ruled that the six-year statute of repose for tort actions arising out of improvements to real property related operated to eliminate all claims after the applicable period has run, even if the cause of action was not discoverable within that time frame. If you suffered harm due to exposure to a dangerous chemical or product you should meet with an experienced Massachusetts personal injury attorney to discuss the facts of your case and your potential claim for compensation.

Alleged Facts Regarding the Plaintiff’s Harm

Reportedly, the defendant manufactured and sold turbine generators and directed that asbestos be used in the installation of the generators. The defendant also supervised the installations. The plaintiff’s decedent was exposed to asbestos during the installation of the generators in two different power plants, which were constructed between 1971 and 1978. He was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 2015 and subsequently sued the defendant, alleging the defendant negligently exposed the him to asbestos during the construction of the plants. The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that the claims were barred by the six-year statute of repose for tort actions arising out of any deficiency or neglect in the design, planning, administration, or construction of any improvement to real property. The district court stated that it was unclear whether the statue applied to cases involving diseases with extended latency periods and certified the question to the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts.

Continue reading →

Published on:

In most Massachusetts personal injury cases, the injured party is free to pursue damages from the party that caused his or her harm, as long as certain procedural requirements are met. In cases in which the person that caused the alleged harm is an employee of the federal government, however, pursuing a claim can be more difficult, due to immunities provided to the government. There are waivers to the immunities set forth by the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), that allow a plaintiff to pursue a claim.

The United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts recently discussed the timeliness of a claim under the FTCA in a case in which the plaintiff sought damages from the United States of America due to the negligence of a government physician. If you live in Massachusetts and you or a loved one suffered harm due to the acts of an employee of the federal government, you should speak with a capable Massachusetts personal injury attorney to discuss the facts of your case.

It is alleged that the plaintiff underwent treatment for amphetamine addiction in 2011. He successfully completed treatment and remained clean through July 2012. In August 2012, the plaintiff began treating with the defendant doctor, who is a government physician. The plaintiff’s medical records indicated he was recovering from an amphetamine addiction and plaintiff’s mother advised the defendant doctor of the plaintiff’s addiction. The defendant doctor nonetheless prescribed the plaintiff several amphetamine-based medications.

Published on:

It is commonly understood that the Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Act provides that if a person is injured at work and recovers workers’ compensation benefits from his or her employer, the injured party’s acceptance of benefits will act as a release, preventing the injured party from pursuing any further claims from the employer arising out of the incident. However, the injured party is not precluded from pursuing personal injury claims from other parties who may be liable.

A Massachusetts appellate court recently analyzed whether an injured party’s release of his employer via a workers’ compensation claim prevented a non-employer defendant from joining the employer as an additional defendant and alleging the employer was liable for the injured party’s harm. If you were injured while working, you may be able to recover damages from parties other than your employer, and you should speak with a skilled Massachusetts personal injury attorney to discuss the facts of your case and to develop a plan for seeking damages.

Facts Regarding the Plaintiff’s Employment

Reportedly, the plaintiff was hired by the employer to perform construction work. The defendant contracting company subsequently hired the employer to work as a subcontractor at a home owned by the owner of the defendant contracting company. During the course of construction, the plaintiff fell in an unguarded area and suffered severe injuries. He received workers’ compensation benefits from the employer, after which he filed a personal injury lawsuit against the defendant contracting company. The defendant filed an answer to the plaintiff’s complaint but subsequently sought leave to amend the answer to add the employer as an additional defendant. The defendant wished to assert claims of breach of contract, negligence, negligent misrepresentation, and indemnification against the employer. The court denied the defendant’s request for leave, after which the defendant appealed.
Continue reading →

Published on:

Under Massachusetts law, a party who is injured by someone else’s negligence typically has three years from the date of the injury to pursue a claim against the negligent party. In certain cases, however, such as when a person is injured on a public way, the law requires that the injured party provide notice of any potential claim to the allegedly negligent party in a much shorter time frame.

As shown in a recent case decided by the Appeals Court of Massachusetts, the failure to provide notice of a claim for injuries arising from a defective way can be fatal to a plaintiff’s case, regardless of the cause of the delay. If you suffered harm due to an accident caused by a defective way, you should consult a skilled Massachusetts personal injury attorney as soon as possible to discuss your options for seeking damages.

Factual and Procedural History

Allegedly, the plaintiff suffered injuries to her foot while she was walking on a public way in Boston, due to a depression in the road. She provided notice of the claim to the city within thirty days, as required by G. L. c. 84, §§ 15 & 18, commonly referred to as the defective way statute. About three months later, the city sent a letter to the plaintiff denying liability and stating that the defendant gas company was the party responsible for the way in question. The plaintiff sent notice to the defendant gas company the following day and subsequently filed a lawsuit against both the city and the defendant gas company. The defendant gas company filed a motion to dismiss due to late notice, which the court denied. The case proceeded to trial. After the close of the plaintiff’s case, the defendant gas company filed a motion for a directed verdict due to the late notice. The court granted the motion, and plaintiff appealed.

Continue reading →

Published on:

The adverse effects of smoking cigarettes are common knowledge. While currently cigarettes must be sold with warning labels, that was not always the case. As such, if someone began smoking decades ago and suffered harm as a result, he or she may be able to pursue claims against cigarette manufacturers on various theories of liability.

Notably, Massachusetts is a jurisdiction that allows such claims, as shown in a recent case in which the Superior Court of Massachusetts ruled that a plaintiff could proceed with its product liability claims against a cigarette manufacturer, denying the defendant manufacturer’s motion for summary judgment. If you or a loved one suffered harm due to a dangerous product, you should meet with an experienced Massachusetts personal injury attorney to discuss your options for pursuing compensation.

Plaintiff’s Decedent’s History of Smoking

Allegedly, the plaintiff’s mother began smoking the defendant’s cigarettes in 1963 when she was 13 years old after she was given free cigarettes by one of the defendant’s representatives. She became addicted to cigarettes and smoked two packs per day for decades. She was diagnosed with cancer in 2016 and ultimately succumbed to the disease. She smoked until her death. After the decedent’s death, the plaintiff filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the defendant, alleging negligence, breach of warranty, conspiracy, and violation of G.L.c. 93A. The defendant filed a motion for partial summary judgment, which the court denied.

Continue reading →