Articles Posted in Premises Liability

The Massachusetts Court of Appeals recently upheld a lower court’s grant of summary judgment to a defendant hotel owner when there was no genuine factual dispute regarding the foreseeability of the unsafe condition causing the plaintiff’s fall.Plaintiff Frances Amara attended a conference at a Sheraton Hotel owned by the defendant. On her second trip to the restroom, Amara slipped and fell on the ceramic floor, injuring herself. She placed her hands on the floor to get up, which became very wet from a foamy substance. She also noticed the smell of something akin to furniture polish. After she reported her fall, Sheraton personnel noticed an oily substance on the bathroom floor and the smell of furniture polish. A can of furniture polish, labeled “Radiance,” was located in a cabinet beneath the sink of the bathroom, “without a cap and dripping product.” France and her husband filed suit.

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A Massachusetts appeals court recently reversed a lower court’s grant of summary judgment to a defendant retail store following the plaintiff’s injury in the store, despite admitting that the plaintiff did not have a very strong case.Defendant Boys in Berries, LLC operates a farm and retail store in Sharon, Massachusetts. In July 2010, Maria Belanger arrived at the farm store with her husband, Ray, entering the store while her husband stayed in the car. Belanger selected a few items to purchase and went to check out. At the end of the checkout counter was a large cardboard box placed on top of a wood pallet. The box and pallet were directly adjacent to the end of the checkout counter, set back several inches from the vertical surface of the counter. From the checkout line, the top of the box was visible, but the square pallet on which it rested could not be seen. While in line, Belanger noted that the box was octagonal.

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