Articles Tagged with negligence

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rocksElephant Rock Beach Club, Inc., the Defendant, operated a a private beach club in Westport, Massachusetts.  The area, as well as the beach along the property, was open to members and their paid guests to use the property and facility.  Near the shore of the beach adjacent to the Defendant’s property is “Elephant Rock” which is a natural rock formation.  Ownership of the rock formation is with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  The formation is located beyond the buoys at the end of the safety ropes that the Defendant erected.  As such, unless you were to access the rocks by swimming up from a boat- the only access would be by being a member or guest at the Defendant’s organization.  It became general knowledge, however, that guests would commonly make use of the rock formation by swimming to it and jumping off the rocks for leisure.

On July 6, 2009, Andrea Paige Carter Cohen, the Plaintiff, went to the club as a guest of a duly authorized member.  While she enjoyed the beach, the sun, and the waves, she witnessed many individuals jumping from the rock.  As a result, she ventured to the rock and did so as well.  After running and taking a dive into the water below from the rocks, she claims that her foot smashed into a portion of the rock below the surface of the water which caused her to sustain a compound fracture of her leg.

The Plaintiff filed a suit alleging negligence based on premises liability and a duty to warn individuals such as the Plaintiff.  More specifically, the complaint alleged that the Defendant breached it’s duty of care to maintain the rock as part of its preemies in a reasonably safe condition.  The Defendant filed a motion for summary judgment claiming that the Plaintiff can provide no proof to support her claims and even to assume that she could, she would be barred by the Massachusetts recreational use statuteContinue reading →

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darkIn September of 2009, Michael Eason reserved a room at the Boston Marriot Burlington Hotel for an overnight stay.  After checking into the hotel at approximately 8:00 pm, he made his way to his rented room.  After opening the door to his hotel room, Mr. Eason admitted that the room was dark except for the faint glow emanating from the partially open door and a small gap in the curtain hanging over the windows.  As he stepped further into the hotel room, the light became even fainter as the door fully closed.  Mr. Eason took a few more steps in his room and unexpectedly encountered a coffee table that caused him to sustain a serious fall.  Mr. Eason alleges that it was negligence on behalf of the hotel that caused or substantially contributed to the injuries he sustained in connection with his fall.  A suit was commenced in Middlesex Superior Court but was ultimately moved to federal court for litigation.  The Defendant Hotel filed a motion for summary judgment in hopes of getting the case dismissed.

In order to succeed in a claim predicated on negligence a plaintiff must establish that the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care, that there was a breach in the purported standard of care, and due to the breach the plaintiff was caused to sustain damages for which he or she should be compensated.  In discussing the duty in this matter, the Judge reiterated that:

“While a landowner has a duty to lawful visitors of its property to maintain reasonably safe conditions and to warn of unreasonable dangers, landowners “are relieved of the duty to warn of open and obvious dangers on their premises because it is not reasonably foreseeable that a visitor exercising (as the law presumes) reasonable care for his own safety would suffer injury from blatant hazards. . . Stated otherwise, where a danger would be obvious to a person of ordinary perception and judgment, a landowner may reasonably assume that a visitor has knowledge of it . . . .””

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