Articles Posted in Negligence

While people can normally be held accountable for inflicting bodily harm upon others, when the individual who caused the injury works for a public employer, such as a city, obtaining damages might be challenging. In particular, the Massachusetts Tort Claims Act (MTCA) shields public businesses from responsibility in a variety of circumstances and imposes stringent notification requirements on potential plaintiffs. In a recent Massachusetts ruling handed down in a case involving injuries sustained during an arrest, a court considered what constitutes sufficient notice of a potential tort claim under the Massachusetts Tort Claims Act. If you have been harmed as a result of another’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation and should contact a Massachusetts personal injury attorney immediately.

The Plaintiff’s Injuries

The plaintiff was reportedly traveling home from work when he was stopped by a police officer hired by the defendant city. He was stopped on the basis of an anonymous tip that he was carrying a pistol. The officer dragged the plaintiff from his vehicle, pushed him to the ground, and stepped on his neck, collarbone, and shoulder, fracturing them. The plaintiff was released after police failed to locate a gun in his vehicle.

The plaintiff allegedly filed a complaint against the defendant alleging a variety of grounds, including negligence under the MTCA. The defendant moved to dismiss, claiming that the plaintiff failed to furnish the appropriate notice under the MTCA. After reconsideration, the court found in favor of the plaintiff. Continue reading

Almost all of us have signed a release or waiver at some point in our lives, whether it be for an amusement park, field trip, recreational activity, or sporting endeavor. Many people do not read the language contained in these agreements and have little understanding regarding the rights they may be signing away. These agreements are legally binding and could have devastating consequences if the signer becomes injured. This also arises in the context of a wrongful death proceeding. Many waivers exempt the offeror from liability for the death of a person who signs the agreement. In some situations, courts will deem a release invalid if certain conditions are satisfied, such as unconscionable terms or incapacitation of the party who signs the agreement. In most cases, however, the courts will honor the terms of the release.

In Markovitz v. Cassenti, the plaintiff alleged that she suffered injuries when she fell from a horse during a horse riding lesson that took place on the defendant’s property. The plaintiff’s husband also sued the defendant, asserting a cause of action for loss of consortium. During the litigation, the defendant filed a motion for summary judgment, stating that the woman signed a release at the time that she applied for riding lessons. The lower court granted the motion for the defendant.

On appeal to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Appeals Court, the court concluded that the trial court was correct in concluding that the language of the release precluded the plaintiff from seeking damages from the defendant in a civil proceeding. The plaintiff had argued that the defendant was negligent in failing to determine whether the plaintiff had sufficient skill and ability to handle a horse on her own. The appellate court rejected this argument, noting that Massachusetts courts will frequently honor the language of a release that immunizes the defendant from future liability arising from negligence. This principle also includes any negligent acts that arise in the future from sports or other recreational activities.

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