Committed to Justice in Boston and Beyond

The Massachusetts Court of Appeals recently rejected arguments by a couple who lost a medical malpractice and wrongful death lawsuit involving the 2009 death of their infant child. They filed suit against a doctor and a nurse in 2010 for the loss of their late daughter, who died three days after her birth.

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The mother made headlines in April 2011 after she went public with allegations that she was being discriminated against after she was notified one week after her daughter’s death that her job at the state Department of Higher Education was being eliminated. According to reports, the family’s house went into foreclosure, and the family lost their health insurance. Adding insult to injury, in April 2014, a Suffolk Superior Court jury returned a verdict for the doctor and the nurse.

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A woman in Rochester filed suit last month in Strafford County Superior Court for medical negligence and violations of the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Act after becoming highly addicted to the potent painkiller Subsys, which is stronger than morphine and heroin.


Her Portsmouth attorney filed the lawsuit on Wednesday in Strafford County Superior Court. Among the defendants, the lawsuit names a physician’s assistant who treated and prescribed painkillers to the woman from the fall of 2012 to the summer of 2015. The center that prescribed the medication is also listed as a defendant. Finally, Colby is suing the drug’s maker, Insys Therapeutics.

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Two plaintiffs filed suit, alleging that one of them fell at the Northshore Mall as a result of slipping on water. The plaintiffs alleged that this water was on the mall floor, due to the negligence of the defendant, which was responsible for watering the plants located in the mall. A Superior Court judge granted summary judgment to all of the defendants. The plaintiffs appealed.


Applying the traditional approach to slip and fall cases, the lower court held that the plaintiffs failed to present any evidence that would allow a reasonable jury to conclude that the defendants knew or should have known that the substance on which the plaintiff allegedly slipped was on the mall floor. The appeals court agreed.

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The Massachusetts Court of Appeals recently affirmed a jury’s ruling against a plaintiff following a Worcester car accident. Just after midnight in April 2013, a defendant was driving westbound on Route 20. He was in the left-hand westbound lane, going slower than the speed limit. As far as he could see, he was the only car on the road. He had a green light as he proceeded through the intersection of Route 20 and Greenwood Street.

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Meanwhile, the plaintiff, another defendant, and another woman had been visiting a friend. The plaintiff drank some tequila during the visit. A few minutes past midnight, the girls got into the other defendant’s Honda Civic to go to McDonald’s. The other defendant was driving, and the plaintiff was seated in the passenger seat behind her. They headed toward Route 20. The westbound driver on Route 20 hit the Civic when it crossed in front of him. The Civic spun around, and the plaintiff was ejected, suffering serious and permanent injuries as a result.

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On behalf of her late husband, Reisa Clardy recently filed suit in Middlesex Superior Court for wrongful death against the man accused of killing Massachusetts State Trooper Thomas Clardy in a fatal car crash. The lawsuit, which seeks $20 million in damages, alleges that Mr. Clardy died “as a result of the grossly negligence or malicious, willful, wanton or reckless conduct of the defendant.”

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The defendant, 30-year-old Webster resident David Njuguna, collided with Clardy’s cruiser in March 2016. Trooper Clardy was stopped on the Massachusetts Turnpike, filling out a citation during a vehicle stop, when Mr. Njuguna’s sedan crashed into the rear of the cruiser without braking. Mr. Njuguna was allegedly traveling over 80 mph and was later found to have marijuana in his system. Following the crash, Trooper Clardy was taken to the hospital and shortly thereafter pronounced dead.

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Gena Paretchan brought a medical malpractice action against Dr. Edward Kwasnik, a surgeon who performed a laparoscopic cholecystectomy on her, and Dr. Gaurav Sharma, a surgical resident who assisted Dr. Krasnik during the procedure. Paretchan experienced complications for a month after the procedure with repeat hospital visits, tests, and ultimately a surgery to repair a bile duct disruption. A medical malpractice tribunal determined that the offer of proof was insufficient to raise a legitimate question of liability as to both defendants. After Paretchan failed to post a bond, and judgment was entered for the defendants, Paretchan appealed. On appeal, the court reversed the judgment for the defendants.


Before considering the lower court’s decision, the appeals court reviewed the facts of the case. Paretchan had a history of symptomatic gallstones with multiple attacks. In October 2012, the defendants performed a laparoscopic cholecystectomy to remove her gallbladder. Her worsening abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting after discharge led Paretchan to seek medical attention, including multiple emergency room visits. An exploratory laparotomy was subsequently performed, and a right anterior bile duct disruption was found. Paretchan underwent surgery to repair this injury.

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Massachusetts groom Barry Billcliff is being sued by two wedding guests who allege they were hit by a drone at the reception of his wedding. Billcliff and his bride, Nichole, were married over the summer at New Hampshire’s Searles Castle. A drone was used during the reception to take aerial photos. Massachusetts residents Kneena Ellis and Kelly Eaton claim they were dancing when the drone came out of nowhere and slammed into their faces. wedding

The drone collision allegedly fractured Eaton’s nose and orbital bone and gave her a concussion. Ellis claims that she suffered a wound that required over 20 stitches. According to the plaintiffs, the groom was operating the drone at the time. Billcliff countered that while he owns the drone, he was not flying it at the time of the accident. In fact, he maintains he was standing in the middle of the dance floor when the drone crash occurred.

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A 20-year-old student–identified in legal papers only as Jane Doe–filed suit against Boston University this month, claiming the school failed to protect her from an alleged assault last fall.


The plaintiff was a junior at BU when she allegedly awoke to find former MIT basketball player Samson Donick sexually assaulting her in her dorm room, asking her, “Baby, do you want some more?” In the ensuing criminal case, Donick pleaded not guilty after being indicted by a grand jury this May. He has since left Boston for his home in Tiburon, California.

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The FDA recently cracked down on three major Massachusetts hospitals–Mass. General, Brigham and Women’s, and UMass Memorial–for not adequately reporting patient deaths and injuries caused by medical devices. Federal regulators also faulted a dozen additional medical centers across the nation–including well-known hospitals in Los Angeles, Boston, and New York–as part of an effort to detect problems before they cause widespread harm.


Regulators inspected 17 Massachusetts hospitals over a two-year period with a focus on contaminated instruments, which have the potential to spread infection. There was particular concern over duodenoscopes, which are used to view the small intestine, and the power morcellator, a surgical device that breaks up tissue and may spread uterine cancer in women.

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In December 2012, Adam Lanza used Remington Arms’ Bushmaster AR-15-style rifle to kill 26 people, including 20 first-graders, at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut. In December 2014, nine families affected by the shooting filed suit for wrongful death against Camfour, Inc. (a firearms distributor), Riverview Gun Sales (the now-defunct Connecticut dealer), and Remington Arms in Connecticut Superior Court, seeking to hold the firearms companies accountable for the tragedy.

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The lawsuit claimed the military-style assault rifle used in the Newtown attack should never have been sold to the gunman’s mother, Nancy Lanza (who was also killed in the attack), since it lacked a reasonable civilian purpose.

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