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Articles Posted in Personal Injury

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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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In most instances, when a person suffers harm because of another party’s negligence, the victim may pursue damages. In certain cases, however, regardless of whether a party acted negligently, the injured person may not be able to recover compensation because the negligent party is immune from liability. For example, under the Massachusetts Tort Claims Act (the Act), public employers are exempt from liability in certain circumstances. Recently, the Appeals Court of Massachusetts analyzed whether the Act protects a public employer from liability for inadequate staffing, in a case arising out of a train accident. If you were injured due to the negligence of a person or entity, it is prudent to meet with a capable Massachusetts personal injury attorney regarding your potential claims.

The Plaintiff’s Harm

It is alleged that the plaintiff fell off a platform at a train station. A train owned by the defendant transportation authority subsequently struck the plaintiff, and he suffered serious injuries. The plaintiff then filed a lawsuit against the defendant, arguing in part that the defendant negligently failed to staff the station with a customer service agent or a safety inspector on the day of the plaintiff’s accident. The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that it was immune from liability under the Act. The court denied the motion, and the defendant appealed.

Public Employer Immunity Under the Act

Under the Act, a public employer is immune from all claims that arise out of the performance or exercise of a discretionary duty or function, or the failure to exercise such a duty or function. In the subject case, the plaintiff did not dispute the fact that the defendant was a public employer as defined by the Act. Thus, the issue analyzed by the court was whether it was within the defendant’s discretion to determine which course of conduct to undertake and, if so, whether it was the kind of discretion for which the Act provided immunity. The court stated that if a regulation, statute, or established practice dictates a party must take a certain course of action, a defendant’s behavior will not be protected by the discretionary function exception of the Act.

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Pharmacists owe a duty to their customers to ensure that prescriptions are accurately filled and that any relevant health information, such as allergies, is considered prior to dispensing medication. If a pharmacist negligently fails to heed a warning in a customer’s health history that a certain medication is contraindicated, and dispenses the medication to the customer regardless, the pharmacy may be liable for any harm the customer suffers. The customer must prove that the harm was the result of the pharmacist’s negligence, however, and as shown in a recent case, if the customer fails to do so his or her claim may be dismissed. If you sustained harm because of a pharmacist’s negligence you should speak with a skillful Massachusetts personal injury attorney regarding what you must prove to recover compensation for your injuries.

Factual Background of the Case

Reportedly, the plaintiff visited his physician due to a head cold. He was prescribed a quinolone antibiotic, which he took to the defendant drugstore to have filed. Although there was nothing in the prescribing physician’s records indicating the plaintiff had a quinoline allergy, there was a “hardstop” warning in the defendant pharmacist’s database that the plaintiff was allergic to quinolones. Upon investigation, however, the pharmacist on duty found notes stating that plaintiff had previously been prescribed quinolines and that he denied having a quinoline allergy on numerous occasions. As such, the pharmacist decided to dispense the antibiotic to the plaintiff.

It is alleged that the plaintiff ultimately suffered an allergic reaction to the drug. Additionally, he alleged in caused him to suffer Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, a serious skin disorder. The plaintiff filed a complaint against the pharmacy alleging, claims of negligence, product liability, and unfair trade practices. The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment, and a motion to preclude the plaintiff’s expert from testifying. The court granted the defendant’s motion and the plaintiff appealed.

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Property owners have a duty to keep their property reasonably safe for those that enter the property, and they can be held liable for harm caused when they breach their duty. While the majority of premises liability claims arise out of slip and fall accidents, a property owner can be held liable for other dangerous conditions that cause a person harm. There are limits to the liability, however, as discussed in a recent case ruled on by the Appeals Court of Massachusetts, Suffolk, in a case in which a shooting victim brought a premises liability claim against the operators of the housing development where the shooting occurred. If you were injured on another person’s property it is prudent to meet with a seasoned Massachusetts personal injury attorney to discuss the facts out of which your harm arose and whether you may be able to recover damages.

Facts of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff’s decedent was standing on a public sidewalk when she was shot in a drive-by shooting. The decedent was paralyzed as a result of the shooting and ultimately died from her injuries. The plaintiff, decedent’s estate, filed a lawsuit against the defendants, who were the entities that owned the housing development that was adjacent to where the victim was shot. The lawsuit alleged that the defendants negligently failed to provide adequate security in the area and failed to warn the decedent of the dangers present in that area. The defendants filed a motion for summary judgment which the trial court granted. The plaintiff appealed.

A Property Owner’s Duty to Prevent Harm

In order to succeed on a negligence claim in Massachusetts, the plaintiff must first establish the existence of a duty. whether a duty exists is a question of law, resolved by referring to prevailing social values and customs and public policy. The duty imposed on property owners is the duty of reasonable care towards all people who are lawfully on the premises. In some cases, the duty can extend to protecting people lawfully on the property from criminal acts of third parties. A landowner only has a duty to protect a person from the criminal acts of other people if there is a special relationship between the landowner and the person.

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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 →

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