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 →