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.
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.