Articles Posted in Premise Liability

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According to a recent news article form Fox News Insider, a two-year-old boy was injured when fell into the cheetah exhibit at a zoo in Cleveland. Witnesses and zoo officials say the boy’s mother was dangling him over the cheetah enclosure when she lost her grip on the child and dropped him approximately ten feet into the pit.

danger-sign-1-1199939-m.jpgOnce the boy hit the ground, his parents quickly entered the pit themselves and came to the aid of their son. Zoo officials said the cheetahs never came anywhere near the boy or his parents, and the animal caretakers were able to free the family from the Cheetah exhibit without any problems. The boy apparently suffered what zoo officials said was a minor leg injury as result of falling ten feet and was taken to a local hospital for evaluation and treatment. Many people questioned for this story and other media outlets have expressed amazement the boy was not attacked by the cheetah, though it is not known how likely it would have been for well-fed animals in captivity to act in an aggressive manner in any case.

Zoo officials have also stated how it is unfortunate that it appears the mother was dangling the child over the cheetah exhibit, according to multiple eyewitness reports, and, therefore, the zoo will be asking police and prosecutors to charge the parents with child endangerment. However, it should be noted, the family has not been charged with any crime in connection with this incident.
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With an end to this harsh Massachusetts winter almost in sight, we hope to get through the next month or so without more serious accidents due to icy and snowy conditions.

hockey-game-479643-m.jpgRecently, a group of two dozen youth hockey players, coaches, and parents narrowly escaped a potentially fatal roof collapse at the local ice rink in Canton, Massachusetts, according to a recent news article from NECN.

Witnesses say the team was at the rink for early morning practice when a large section of the roof came crashing down without any significant warning signs. Around 7 a.m., the team was on the ice, when they heard loud noses from the room. Around a second later, the coach heard a loud snap and started screaming. He was screaming for the kids to get off the ice. Witnesses say there were seven kids directly under the section of roof that came crashing down, and they barely had time to hear their coach’s voice and get out of the way before being crushed by the falling roof, snow and ice.
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Airbnb allows people to rent out their home to overnight guests in order to bring in some extra cash. The service is popular in cities like Boston, where there is a high demand for hotels and short-term rental homes.

However, as Engadget reports, listing a home on Airbnb creates myriad legal challenges including the potential violation of agreements preventing subleasing as well as city-specific restrictions on rental properties. asset protection.jpg

One big issue that is a concern for those renting out their homes (or for landlords whose tenants rent out space) is what happens if someone gets hurt in the home. A Boston premises liability lawyer knows a property owner or a renter is generally responsible in situations where an injury happens in the home if the injury occurs as a direct result of a failure to maintain the property. The specific standard of care that a property owner has differs depending upon the status of the person inside. However, since Airbnb facilitates commercial transactions, homeowners and renters would typically be expected to exercise extreme caution in ensuring these properties are safe.
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Powers v. 31 E 31 LLC, a case from the New York Court of Appeals, involved plaintiff who was injured at a friend’s apartment building. After a night of drinking, plaintiff and some friends went to apartment where the accident occurred.

rusty-roof-1445317-m.jpgWhile at the apartment, the group stepped through a window to access the roof deck. The window opening was nearly a foot and a half wide and a little more than two feet high. The roof area flat enough to walk on was five feet wide and extended the entire length of the building. The portion of the roof abutted the exterior wall of the next building.

At one portion of this flat roof, an airshaft separated the two buildings. The airshaft consisted of a 25-foot vertical drop with no railing or other protection to keep people from falling into the shaft. The opening of the shaft was approximately four feet by eight feet.
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Our Boston personal injury lawyers understand that, in premises liability cases, the defendant will often to try to escape liability by claiming that the plaintiff was injured by an obvious danger.

993863_ladder.jpgIn Pinson v. 45 Development, a contractor was hired to install an electronic sign at a store. He was a master sign electrician with years of experience. He was using a bucket truck to get to the sign canopy. The canopy was constructed in such a way that he not have a place to stand. It was basically a metal frame with vinyl stretched over top. There was no way to gain access from underneath the sign.
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Our Boston personal injury lawyers understand that the need to prove both liability and damages separately can be confusing to plaintiffs.

hospitalroom1.jpgMetzler v. BCI Coca-Cola Bottling, decided by the Supreme Court for the State of Arizona, involved a plaintiff who was shopping at a grocery store in Tucson. While in the store, she slipped on water that was leaking from a refrigerator. The refrigerator was not owned by the store; rather, a soft drink company that had placed the refrigerator in the store owned it.

The personal injury suffered by the plaintiff was severe, and she made an offer to settle the case for $150,000. The defendant rejected the case, and it went to trial. The jury found that the defendant was responsible for the plaintiff’s injuries and awarded her a verdict in the amount of $1.5 million.
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A customer at a store should have an assurance the property will be in a reasonably safe condition from the moment they walk in the door – sometimes sooner. They should have confidence that if there is any potentially dangerous situation on site, it will be either open and obvious, or they will receive ample warning about it from management.
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When that doesn’t happen and injury results, our Boston personal injury lawyers are here to help initiate a premises liability lawsuit.

In the recent case of Cox, et al. v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., it was the doorway itself the plaintiff alleged to be defective and dangerous, and accused the store of failing to warn her about it. This case was removed to federal court upon request of the defendant, after first being filed in Mississippi state courts. Still, because the incident occurred in Mississippi, state law there governs whether the plaintiff has a valid case.
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The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit has limited liability of the insurance company of a Massachusetts restaurant/bar where a woman was injured following a brawl.
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The issue in Graf v. Hospitality Mut. Ins. Co. was not whether the facility was negligent in providing security or whether that resulted in the plaintiff’s injuries. That was established during a previous lawsuit where the patron sued the restaurant directly, resulting in a $500,000 judgment in her favor.

Boston personal injury lawyers understand the issue in this action was to what extent the bar’s insurance company was liable for $112,000 in prejudgment interest against the owner and an employee of the facility.
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The Massachusetts Supreme Court has reversed an earlier judgment in favor of a city/ landowner in a slip-and-fall negligence case, wherein a mother attending a parent-teacher conference was seriously hurt after slipping and falling on ice.
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The court found in Wilkins v. City of Haverhill that the purpose of the land, as it relates to the statute, was altered at the time of the incident because it was only open to a small, discrete group during those hours. Had it occurred during normal business hours, the result may have been different.

Boston fall accident attorneys understand at the center of this case is Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 21, 17C. This statute bars claims of ordinary negligence against any landowner (including a government landowner) that has opened the land for use by the public for purposes of education, recreation, conservation, religious activities (as well as a few others) without charging any sort of fee.
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A snow thrower is an important item to have when winter comes, but it probably isn’t something that you think about for most of the rest of the year. As such, it is possible you may have missed a recall announcement in October of 2006 for MTD snow throwers that was prompted by defective wheels on the blowers. In fact, each year there are still people who are injured by one of these snow throwers because they are not aware that their product was covered by the recall.

Our Boston defective product attorneys want to make sure everyone is aware of the dangers of these older models of MTD snow blowers. There were more than 130,000 snow blowers sold with the defective and dangerous tires and it is important to check your model number and brand information on the website of the Consumer Products Safety Commission. 1334889_snow_blower.jpg

The Defect
MTD and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission cooperated in a joint recall effort in 2006 in order to get the word out about MTD’s dangerous snow blowers.
Multiple brands were affected including Troy-Bilt, Craftsman and Yard Machines and the snow throwers were sold at Kmart and Sears Stores from July of 2004 through March of 2006.

The recall was necessary as a result of many injury reports. The snow blower had defective wheel rims. These wheel rims were made of a plastic composite material that had the potential to explode. When the tires on the snow thrower were over-inflated, this could prompt the wheel rims to burst, which could in turn cause cuts or other injury.

Hundreds of injuries occurred in 2006 because of the defect in the tire and wheel rim of the snow blower, but unfortunately the problem did not end there. As with many product recalls, not everyone hears about the dangers. Those who purchased the snow blowers but who were not notified about the recall may still be using the defective blowers today. In fact, there are still consumers even this winter who may be injured if the wheel rim explodes when they are using the snow thrower.

Holding the Company Responsible
The problem with the MTD snow throwers was caused by the tire defect and wheel rim issue. As such, the company that designed and created the defective tire and wheel rims is responsible for any injuries that occur as a result of the problem with the product.

Those who own the snow throwers but who did not hear of the recall may still be able to recover compensation from MTD Products, Inc. if they suffer injuries. As such, if you are hurt due to an MTD snow thrower this year as you do your winter clean up, you should consult with a legal professional.
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