Articles Posted in Premises Liability

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In Massachusetts, the duty a property owner owes to visitors of the property depends in part on the status of the visitor. For example, property owners owe a minimal duty to trespassers as opposed to those lawfully permitted to enter the property. There is an exception for child trespassers, however, who are owed greater protection from harm. Recently, the Appeals Court of Massachusetts, Essex, discussed what duties property owners owe child trespassers, in a case in which a child was harmed after unlawfully entering a property. If you or your child were injured on another person’s property it is prudent to meet with a seasoned Massachusetts personal injury attorney as soon as possible to discuss your potential causes of action.

Facts of the Case and Procedural Background

Reportedly, the defendant owned an apartment complex that abutted railroad tracks. A fence separated the defendant’s property from the tracks, but there were large gaps and holes in the fence that adults and children used to pass through the property. The plaintiff alleged the defendant was aware that people used the holes and gaps in the fence to access the adjacent property but did not repair the fence.

It is alleged that the plaintiff, a thirteen-year-old girl, walked through the fence and over the railroad tracks with a friend to go to a nearby plaza to go shopping. On the way back from their shopping trip, the friend was struck by a train. The plaintiff attempted to perform CPR on the friend, but the friend died from her injuries.

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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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The law affords injured individuals the right to pursue claims against the person or entity that caused their harm, in a jurisdiction of their choosing. While in many cases a plaintiff’s jurisdictional choice will remain undisturbed, a plaintiff does not have an absolute right to dictate where an action will be heard. Rather, in cases where the defendant argues that jurisdiction is improper, the plaintiff must establish that the court can validly exercise personal jurisdiction over a defendant. Recently that United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts analyzed whether jurisdiction over an out of state defendant was proper under the Massachusetts long-arm statute, in a case in which the defendant was an out of state corporation. If you were injured by a company that is based in another state, you should consult a seasoned Massachusetts personal injury attorney to discuss the appropriate manner in which to pursue damages for your harm.

Facts of the Accident

It is alleged that the plaintiff, who is a resident of Massachusetts, was vacationing in Florida, at a resort owned by the defendant, when she was injured in a scooter accident. The defendant does not own or lease any property in Massachusetts or have any offices or employees in Massachusetts and is not registered as a foreign corporation in Massachusetts. The plaintiff then filed a lawsuit against the defendant in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts. The defendant moved to dismiss the plaintiff’s complaint, arguing the court lacked personal jurisdiction over the defendant. The court granted the defendant’s motion, and the plaintiff appealed.

Massachusetts Long-Arm Statute

The Massachusetts long-arm statute, Mass. Gen. L. c. 223A, § 3, permits a court to exercise personal jurisdiction over a person or company who directly or indirectly conducts business in Massachusetts if the alleged cause of action arises out of the business conducted in Massachusetts. The first prong of the long-arm statute can be met by showing the defendant engaged in the purposeful solicitation of business from the residents of Massachusetts, while the second prong requires a plaintiff to show that “but for” such solicitation, she or he would not have suffered harm.
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Under Massachusetts law, property owners owe a duty to anyone that legally enters the property to maintain the property in a safe condition. When a property owner fails to comply with its duty and allows foreign objects to remain on the floor, it may cause a slip and fall accident. The Appeals Court of Massachusetts recently analyzed what evidence a person injured in a slip and fall accident caused by debris must produce to prove the property owner had constructive notice of the condition, in a case in which the plaintiff reportedly fell due to gum on a stairway. If you were injured in a slip and fall accident in Massachusetts you should meet with a proficient Massachusetts personal injury attorney to discuss what evidence you need to prove liability for your harm.

Facts of the Case

Reportedly, the plaintiff suffered injuries when she stepped on chewing gum and fell down a flight of stairs in the defendant’s building. She described the gum, which was stuck to the bottom of her shoe, as gray, black, and dirty. She subsequently filed a lawsuit against the defendant, alleging the defendant negligently failed to clean, inspect, and maintain the stairway. The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment, which the court granted. The plaintiff then appealed.

Constructive Notice Under Massachusetts Law

Under Massachusetts law, it is well established that a property owner is liable for injuries sustained on its property if the property owner knew or should know of conditions on the property that create an unreasonable risk of harm, and that invitees will either not discover the condition, but fails to protect invitees from the condition despite this knowledge. In cases involving slip and falls, the first element is met if the property owner caused the foreign substance to be on the floor, had actual knowledge of its presence, or if the substance had been on the floor so long that the property owner should have constructive notice of its existence.
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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.

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In Massachusetts, property owners are expected to maintain their property in a relatively safe condition. The duties imposed on property owners apply regardless of whether the owner is an individual or business. Even if the injured party can prove he or she was injured on a person or entity’s property, however, the injured party may be denied damages if an exception to the general rule applies. For example, as discussed in a recent case decided by the Appeals Court of Massachusetts, under certain circumstances a property owner that permits people to use its property for recreational purposes can avoid liability. If you suffered injuries in a recreational facility it is prudent to meet with a skillful Massachusetts personal injury attorney to discuss the circumstances under which you were injured and your potential claims for pursuing damages.

Factual Background of the Plaintiff’s Harm

Allegedly, the plaintiff was at the defendant indoor sports facility, watching her son play dek hockey. When she was leaving the bleachers after the game, she fell and suffered a torn ligament in her knee. She sued the defendant, alleging that it negligently failed to properly secure the bleachers. The defendant filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that it was insulated from liability by G.L. c 21, § 17C, which is known as the recreational use statute. The trial court granted the defendant’s motion, dismissing the case. The plaintiff appealed.

Immunity Under the Recreational Use Statute

Under the recreational use statute, landowners are protected from liability for negligence claims brought by people who suffered injuries while using the land for recreational purposes with no charge. In the subject case, it was undisputed that the plaintiff did not pay a fee to use the defendant’s facilities. The plaintiff argued, however, that she paid an indirect fee for the use of the defendant facility, through payments made to her son’s dek hockey league to allow him to play in the defendant facility.

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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.

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Slip and fall accidents are one of the most common causes of personal injury. When a person is injured in a slip and fall accident at a business, the person may be able to recover compensation from the business owner for any harm the person suffered. To successfully prove the business owner should be held liable, however, the injured party must prove that a dangerous condition caused the fall, and the business owner knew or should have known of the condition. A Massachusetts appellate court recently analyzed what constitutes sufficient evidence to prove a business owner should have had notice of a dangerous condition in a slip and fall case. If you were recently injured in a slip and fall accident it is essential to retain a trusted Massachusetts personal injury attorney to represent you in your pursuit of damages from the business owner.

The Slip and Fall Accident

Allegedly, the plaintiff and her daughter stopped at a fast food restaurant on August 14, 2014. It was raining heavily that day, and the plaintiff and her daughter parked by the front entrance of the restaurant. The plaintiff was holding her daughter’s hand and entered the restaurant via the front door, walking in front of her daughter. As soon as she entered the restaurant, the plaintiff’s right leg flew forward, and she fell onto her left knee. She then noticed there was water everywhere and the water had pooled in a three to four-foot puddle on the floor. While there was a mat and yellow cone by the side entrance, the plaintiff stated that there were none by the front entrance.

It is reported that the plaintiff filed a negligence claim against the defendant restaurant. The case proceeded to a bench trial, during which the defendant filed a motion for involuntary dismissal pursuant to Mass. R. Civ. P. 41(b)(2) which the court denied. The court ultimately found in favor of the plaintiff, after which the defendant appealed. On appeal, the defendant did not dispute that the plaintiff suffered injuries but argued that as the plaintiff did not produce evidence as to how long the water had been on the floor, she failed to establish that the defendant should have known of the water.

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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.
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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.

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