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Under Massachusetts law, a plaintiff seeking to recover damages from a defendant in a car accident case must not only prove that the defendant caused the accident, but also that the plaintiff suffered actual harm due to the accident. As such, if a plaintiff cannot establish that he or she sustained injuries in a car accident, the jury may find in favor of the defendant, as shown in a recent Massachusetts case in which an appellate court affirmed the jury’s ruling. If you were harmed in a car accident caused by someone else’s reckless driving, it is in your best interest to speak to a capable Massachusetts car accident attorney regarding what evidence you must produce to recover compensation.

Facts of the Case

It is alleged that the defendant struck the plaintiff’s vehicle as the defendant was turning left out of a gas station. The plaintiff admitted that she was either not moving or moving at a rate of fewer than five miles per hour when the accident occurred, and there was minimal damage to either vehicle. The plaintiff ultimately filed a personal injury lawsuit against the defendant, alleging that the defendant was negligent and that her negligence caused the plaintiff to suffer a concussion, tinnitus, exacerbation of back and neck pain, and vertigo. Following a trial, the jury found in favor of the defendant. The plaintiff filed a motion for a judgment notwithstanding the verdict or for a new trial, which was denied. The plaintiff then appealed, and on appeal, the appellate court affirmed the trial court ruling.

Overturning a Jury’s Verdict Under Massachusetts Law

Under Massachusetts law, a plaintiff asking a court to overturn a jury verdict on the grounds that the jury’s ruling constitutes an error as a matter of law faces a high burden. Specifically, if the court finds that any evidence from any source demonstrates circumstances from which an inference could be drawn in favor of the non-moving party, the verdict will not be disturbed. The verdict is especially high when the plaintiff is the party challenging the jury’s verdict, as the plaintiff bears the burden of proof.

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In many instances in which a person is injured by a harmful product, the person will be able to pursue multiple claims against the entities responsible for designing, manufacturing, and distributing the product. If a plaintiff alleging multiple claims in a product liability case is unable to prove one claim, however, it may preclude the plaintiff from recovering under other claims. This was discussed in a recent Massachusetts lawsuit in which the plaintiff sought to recover damages caused by defective transvaginal surgical mesh, but voluntarily waived her breach of the warranty of merchantability claim, resulting in the dismissal of her negligence claims. If you suffered harm because of an unsafe product, it is advisable to confer with a knowledgeable Massachusetts personal injury attorney to discuss what damages you may be owed.

Facts of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff underwent surgery in 2008, during which the defendant physician implanted transvaginal surgical mesh. About five years after the surgery, the plaintiff began experiencing pelvic pain, suffered unintended weight loss, and lost the ability to be intimate with her partner. She subsequently filed a complaint in multi-district litigation, asserting claims of strict liability, breach of express warranty, strict liability failure to warn, breach of an implied warranty, and negligence. She subsequently waived numerous claims, including her claims for breach of warranty. The defendants then filed a motion for summary judgment, asking the court, in part, to dismiss the negligence claim. Upon review, the court granted the defendants’ motion as to the negligence claim.

Negligence and Breach of the Warranty of Merchantability

Under Massachusetts law, a plaintiff pursuing a negligence claim in a product liability case must prove that the defendant breached the warranty of merchantability to recover under the negligence claim. In other words, while a defendant may be found to breach the warranty of merchantability without being deemed negligent, the opposite is not true.

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Passengers of planes are not immune to injury, but when their injuries are caused by another party’s intentional or negligent act, it may not always be clear when and where their claims must be filed. This was demonstrated in a recent ruling issued by a Massachusetts district court, in which the court affirmed the dismissal of the plaintiff’s claims due to the plaintiff’s failure to file an action within the time constraints set forth under the Montreal Convention, which establishes the requirements for pursuing certain claims against airlines. If you were injured during a flight, it is advisable to speak to a skillful Massachusetts personal injury attorney regarding what steps you may be able to take to protect your interests.

Facts Regarding the Plaintiff’s Harm

It is reported that the plaintiff, a Massachusetts resident, embarked on a flight on a plane owned by the defendant airline. The flight departed from Boston and landed in London the following day. During the flight, a flight attendant accused the plaintiff of stealing luggage. Thus, without the plaintiff’s consent, his belongings were searched, and he was detained on the plane after it landed, and in the airport in London until it was determined he did not take the missing luggage.

Allegedly, approximately three years later, the plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the defendant in a Massachusetts court, which the defendant moved to the district court. The defendant then filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that the plaintiff’s claims were governed exclusively by the Montreal Convention, and were therefore barred by the applicable statute of limitations. The district court agreed with the defendant’s reasoning, granting the motion. The plaintiff then appealed.

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It is not uncommon for surgeons in Massachusetts to implant medical products such as artificial joints, valves, and mesh in their patients. Unfortunately, however, medical products, like other products, often have dangerous defects that cause serious injuries to the people they are intended to help. Thus, many product liability cases arise out of harm caused by defective medical devices. In Massachusetts, whether a plaintiff can recover damages from the manufacturer of a medical product depends, in part, on whether the physician employing the product was advised of the risks associated with its use, as discussed in a recent case. If you were harmed by a defective medical product, you should contact a knowledgeable Massachusetts personal injury attorney to discuss what claims you may be able to assert against the parties responsible for your harm.

Facts of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff underwent surgical implantations of mesh devices manufactured by the defendant on two separate occasions, to treat cystocele, prolapse, and rectocele. The mesh eroded over time, and the plaintiff subsequently underwent a procedure to remove the mesh. It could only be partially removed, however. The plaintiff suffered from ongoing issues due to the remaining mesh and the erosion, including pain, scarring, infection, difficulty walking, and painful urination. The plaintiff and her husband subsequently filed a lawsuit against the defendant, asserting numerous claims, including negligence. The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment as to all claims, which the court granted in part and denied in part.

Liability for Defective Medical Products Under Massachusetts Law

The court ultimately ruled that the plaintiff set forth sufficient grounds to proceed to trial on her negligence claim. Specifically, the court noted that under Massachusetts law, a manufacturer of a product could be held liable for harm suffered by a user of the product, if the harm was caused by the manufacturer’s failure to use reasonable care in warning of the dangers associated with using the product. In other words, a manufacturer has a duty to warn consumers of a known risk of harm.

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Workplace injuries are common, and in many instances, they render the injured parties unable to work. Frequently, however, people injured at work are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Generally, such benefits continue until an employee’s injuries resolve. In cases in which it is disputed whether symptoms are work-related, an employee’s disability benefits may be terminated, however. Recently, a Massachusetts appellate court discussed what an employee alleging workers’ compensation disability benefits were wrongfully ended must prove in order for the benefits to be reinstated. If you were injured at work, it is in your best interest to speak to a skilled Massachusetts workers’ compensation attorney regarding what benefits you may be owed.

Factual Background

It is reported that the claimant, who was a librarian for a law firm, suffered a back injury while working in March 2014. She began attending physical therapy in June 2014, which caused her to miss two days of work, and left work permanently in December 2014. Due to her injury, she sought and received disability benefits from her employer’s workers’ compensation insurer.

Allegedly, in September 2015, the claimant’s employer filed a complaint asking to terminate the claimant’s disability benefits. Following a hearing in October 2016, an administrative judge found that the claimant was totally disabled from December 2014 through December 2015, and partially disabled from December 2015 through September 2016, but that any disability after that time was not work related. Thus, her benefits were discontinued. The claimant appealed, and a reviewing board affirmed, after which the claimant appealed to State appellate court. Continue reading →

In most cases in which a party alleges harm due to someone else’s negligence, the injured party is required to prove the acts or omissions of the defendant constituted a breach of the duty owed to the plaintiff. In some cases, however, a defendant who is guilty of violating a law may be deemed negligent as a matter of law. Recently, the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts discussed the standard for determining whether a person found guilty of violating a criminal statute may be deemed negligent based on the violation. If you or someone you love were injured by someone during the commission of a crime, it is prudent to consult a skillful personal injury attorney to discuss what you can do to protect your interests.

The Underlying Accident

It is reported that the plaintiff’s decedent was stopped on a bridge because her car had a flat tire. She called for assistance, and while she was waiting, twenty-four vehicles passed her car. The defendant driver, however, struck the rear of the decedent’s car when he was driving a truck over the bridge, which caused the car to burst into flames. The decedent ultimately died due to injuries sustained in the collision. The plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the defendant and his employer, alleging negligence and gross negligence, as well as wrongful death claims. The parties both filed motions for summary judgment. The plaintiff sought, in part, to have the defendant driver deemed negligent as a matter of law due to the fact that he was convicted of motor vehicle homicide due to negligent operation.

Collateral Estoppel in Civil Cases

Under Massachusetts law, anyone that causes the death of a person by operating a vehicle negligently can be convicted of homicide by a motor vehicle. Specifically, the statute requires the Commonwealth to show that the defendant operated a vehicle on a public road, in a negligent or reckless manner that endangered the lives and safety of other people and subsequently caused the death of another person.

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When a person retains an attorney for any legal matter, it is critical that the person communicate candidly with the attorney to prevent the unwitting waiver of the right to pursue other claims. This was demonstrated in a recent case in which the court dismissed a plaintiff’s product liability lawsuit due to his failure to disclose his potential claims against the company that manufactured the product in a prior bankruptcy proceeding. If you were injured by a defective product, it is wise to meet with a knowledgeable Massachusetts personal injury attorney as soon as possible to discuss what measures you can take to protect your right to seek compensation.

Facts Regarding the Plaintiff’s Injury and Bankruptcy Proceeding

It is reported that in April 2018, the plaintiff purchased a battery-operated skateboard that was manufactured by the defendant. Two months later, while he was riding on the board, it suddenly shut off, causing him to be thrown into the air. The plaintiff sustained a concussion and shoulder injuries in the fall, which necessitated a trip to the emergency room. He subsequently suffered from headaches, memory loss, and back and neck pain due to his injuries. He emailed the defendant on the day of his accident and multiple times thereafter regarding the accident and the potentially defective nature of the board.

Allegedly, in October 2018, the plaintiff filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. In the course of his bankruptcy proceedings, he was required to list any claims he had against any other parties, including accidents, regardless of whether a lawsuit had been filed. He did not list the skateboard accident, however. In February 2019, the plaintiff’s debts were discharged, and his bankruptcy case was closed. The plaintiff then filed a lawsuit against the defendant asserting numerous claims and seeking $10 million in damages. The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment, asserting that judicial estoppel barred the plaintiff’s claims.

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Under Massachusetts law, people that are injured by defective products have a right to pursue claims for damages against anyone in the chain of distribution of the product, including the manufacturer. While, in some instances, it is easy to determine who should be named as a defendant in a product liability case, in cases in which another company purchased the company that originally sold the product, it can be difficult to ascertain who is liable for the alleged harm. Recently, the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts discussed successor liability in a case in which the plaintiff alleged he was injured by a defective vehicle. If you sustained injuries due to a dangerous product, it is wise to speak with an assertive Massachusetts product liability attorney regarding what claims you may be able to pursue.

Factual Background

It is alleged that the plaintiff suffered significant injuries in a car accident. He subsequently filed a product liability lawsuit in Massachusetts state court against the defendant, alleging the car was dangerously designed and manufactured. The defendant was not the company that manufactured the car, however, but was the company that purchased certain assets from the original manufacturer when the original manufacturer filed for bankruptcy. Under the Master Transaction Agreement approved by the bankruptcy court, the defendant agreed to assume liability for any product liability claim arising out of motor vehicle accidents occurring after the sale. The defendant removed the action to federal court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1332 and then filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that the court lacked jurisdiction over the defendant.

Successor Liability for Harm Caused by Defective Products

Generally, a successor company does not assume the liabilities of its predecessor. There are exceptions to the general rule, however, such as in cases in which the purchaser expressly or impliedly agrees to take on such liabilities. In such cases in which a successor can be held liable for its predecessor’s acts, the predecessor’s contacts with a forum may be imputed to the successor.

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In any civil lawsuit, the plaintiff has a certain amount of leeway in deciding where the case should be filed. In some instances, however, the defendant will seek to move the case to federal court, which is often less favorable to plaintiffs. Recently, the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts discussed what a defendant seeking to move a case to federal court must establish, in a case in which the plaintiff averred that she suffered harm because of a defective product. If you were injured by a dangerous product, it is wise to speak with a trusted Massachusetts personal injury attorney regarding your options for pursuing claims against the party responsible for your harm.

Facts and Procedural History

It is reported that the plaintiff was lying in a hammock manufactured by the defendant when it collapsed, causing the plaintiff to fracture her back. The plaintiff filed a complaint in the Massachusetts Superior Court, alleging product liability claims against the defendant. The defendant then removed the case to federal court on the basis of jurisdiction. In turn, the plaintiff filed a motion asking the court to remand the case to the Superior Court, on the grounds that the amount in controversy was not over $75,000.00. The court ultimately granted the plaintiff’s motion, remanding the case.

Federal Diversity Jurisdiction

Under 28 U.S.C. 1441(a), a defendant has the right to remove any action from State court to a district court that has original jurisdiction. If it appears that a district court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over a case that has been removed from State court to a federal court, however, the case must be remanded. The defendant that removed the case to federal court bears the burden of proving that the court has subject matter jurisdiction over the matter. Further, the courts strictly construe the statute pertaining to removal, and any doubts regarding whether removal is proper are resolved in favor of remanding the case.

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