Massachusetts homeowners now risk being sued for slip-and-fall accidents due to snow and ice due to a new ruling by the state’s Supreme Judicial Court. Under the new law, homeowners are legally responsible for clearing any snow or ice that could cause injury to others.
A Landmark Slip-and-Fall Decision
An article in the Boston Globe notes that the decision came about as the result of a lawsuit filed by Emanuel Papadopoulos against the Target store company and the Weiss Landscape Co.
Hired to clear snow and ice from the Target property at Liberty Tree Mall in Danvers in 2002, the Weiss Landscape Co. piled up a bank of snow near a handicapped parking space. This snow melted and froze into ice.
Mr. Papadopoulos, a 76-year-old man from Peabody, slipped on the ice and broke his hip. He then sued the two companies for damages.
Overruling the Lower Courts
Lower courts had ruled in favor of Target and Weiss Landscape, based on rules that made a distinction between artificial and natural ice, but the higher court overturned them. The Supreme Judicial Court stated in its ruling:
“We now will apply to hazards arising from snow and ice the same obligation that a property owner owes to lawful visitors as to all other hazards: a duty to ‘act as a reasonable person under all of the circumstances including the likelihood of injury to others, the probable seriousness of such injuries, and the burden of reducing or avoiding the risk.’ ’’
The Supreme Judicial Court stated the ruling will be put into effect immediately and will also apply retroactively to lawsuits now pending.
The Question of Property Law
If you have any questions about property law and how this ruling might affect your slip-and-fall case, contact the attorneys Robert Mazow and Kevin McCullough at Mazow|McCullough, PC for a free legal consultation. We are here to help.
The CDC has stated that there are now 26 confirmed cases of E. coli 0145 linked to shredded romaine lettuce sold under the Freshway brand and Imperial Sysco brand. These cases include people with E. coli in Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Tennessee.
Freshway Foods of Sidney, Ohio, has issued a recall for all romaine lettuce products sold under their brand for food service outlets, wholesale, and in-store retail salad bars and delis. Supermarkets have not been affected.
Sufferers have reported symptoms such as bloody diarrhea and abdominal cramps. More serious complications of E. coli include HUS, a severe infection that most commonly affects the elderly and infants.
With more and more E. coli cases arising in Massachusetts, Mazow|McCullough have been working to inform the public of its dangers. We’ve developed a legal first aid kit that outlines the first steps you should take if you think you have E. coli.
And if you or a family member has been affected by E. coli, contact the personal injury attorneys at Mazow|McCullough for advice on your potential legal case.
Massachusetts is now the 27th state to ban texting in a car. In a concerted effort to prevent serious auto accidents, the state has also banned any cellphone use for drivers under the age of 18.
According to the Boston Globe, the state law will take effect in October and will cover a wide range of reading and writing on mobile devices, including emailing, internet searching and other noncalling activities. The law, passed after a number of high profile deaths in texting auto accidents, also covers drivers waiting at traffic lights and stop signs. An instant $100 fine is possible.
Under 18 drivers may only use their phone for texting or talking in an emergency or when the car is parked. If they break the law, they can have their car licenses suspended for 60 days.
Have you been affected by an auto accident where the driver was texting? Call or email the lawyers at Mazow|McCullough for expert advice on your case.