In Klairmont v. Gainsboro Restaurant, Inc., 465 Mass. 165 (2013), the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court [SJC] clarified a number of issues about the interrelation of the wrongful death statute, G.L. c. 229, consumer protection claims under G.L. c. 93A and the survival statute, G.L. c. 228, §1.

Recently, defense interests had been arguing that claims arising out of a death were limited to wrongful death claims based on negligence theories. The SJC flatly rejected such an argument by holding that consumer protection claims under G.L. c. 93A can be brought under the survival statute by the Administrators of an Estate and that they are a distinct cause of action from common law wrongful death claims.
Continue Reading

Only days after a fire in an Allston building killed a Boston University student, the owner of the building, Anna Belokurova, has reportedly been cited by Boston police for allegedly running an illegal rooming house, and using the basement of the premises as bedrooms. According to Boston police, Belokurova allowed 19 people to live in the 2 story house, a violation of a Boston city ordinance. The ordinance states that a maximum of 4 unrelated students may live in a dwelling at one time, and according to police, there were 6 Boston University students living on the premises at the time of Lee’s death. Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel Conley said that his office was also investigating the incident to determine if criminal charges may be brought.
Continue Reading

It’s the worst fear of any parent who sends their child to participate in sports or other youth-related activities – the teacher/coach/leader is an alleged pedophile. Parents in the North Shore Town of Rowley face that chilling reality, as it has been revealed that Curtis H. Bryant was accused in a 1990 lawsuit of being a child molester during a period when he worked at the Landmark School in Beverly, Massachusetts. For the past 20 years, records from the lawsuit were not available, as the judge who presided over the case had ordered the record sealed as a part of a settlement agreement between private parties. With no public record of the accusations, Bryant was apparently free to go about his life working with children.
Continue Reading

On February 15, 2013, David W. Heinlein, a partner at Heinlein Beeler Mingace & Heineman, P.C., with offices in Boston, Cambridge and Natick, obtained a personal injury jury verdict in Las Vegas against the Excalibur Hotel and Casino in the amount of $1,291,435.53. The jury, in this case involving a car striking a pedestrian, entered its verdict on Friday evening after a week-long trial. Once the post-trial calculations are added to the verdict, the judgment is expected to be well in excess of $1.5 Million.
Continue Reading

On Saturday, February 2, 2013, a bus headed from Cambridge, Massachusetts to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania crashed into an under pass on Soldier’s Field Road in Boston. While the police investigation is ongoing, it appears that the bus was simply too tall to fit under the Soldier’s Field Road, Boston underpass, and the front end and top of the bus were destroyed. It has been reported that there are many injury victims on the bus, some hurt seriously. Recent reports indicate that one victim remains in critical condition. Such injuries are not surprising, given the pictures and videos shown by the Boston media which has covered the story.
Continue Reading

It’s been called “The Storm of the Century” or simply “MegaStorm” and regardless of where you receive your weather forecast, you know Massachusetts will be buried in snow over the next few days. Once the travel ban imposed by Governor Patrick is lifted, we will undoubtedly hear of many accidents, with injuries, in the Boston area blamed on snowy roadways. To be sure, snow, like ice and rain, makes driving more challenging and dangerous. Such conditions, however, are not an excuse for failing to drive a vehicle safely or for causing a snow-related Boston automobile accident.
Continue Reading

The Massachusetts Recreational Use Statute, G.L. c. 21, § 17C, provides, in part, that “any person having an interest in land . . . who lawfully permits the public to use such land for recreational . . . purposes without imposing a charge of fee therefor . . . shall not be liable for personal injuries . . . sustained by such members of the public . . . while on said land in the absence of wilful, wanton, or reckless conduct by such person.” Some Courts have focused on whether the injured party actually handed over money in exchange for access the land when determining whether a landowner/occupier is entitled to immunity for negligence. As a result, the Recreational Use statute has been interpreted by some courts to lead to absurd results where one visitor may be entitled to common law duty of care, but another visiting on an admission-free day, may be without remedy when injured. Moreover, some premises liability victims have been left without remedy despite the fact that the landowner/occupier is making substantial sums from activities at the location at issue, either through direct payments from user groups or due to the sale of goods and services on the premises. Such interpretations have improperly expanded the scope of immunity under the Recreational Use statute.
Continue Reading