Massachusetts Court Dismisses Case Where Plaintiff Was Injured by Falling Luggage


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Plaintiffs are able to recover damages when they are injured due to the negligence of another. However, who is at fault and what is considered negligent are very fact specific inquiries. Your knowledgeable Massachusetts personal injury attorney can help you understand whether you may be eligible to recover damages for your injuries. A case recently heard by the federal court in the District of Massachusetts looked at a situation where a woman was injured after luggage fell on her.

Facts of the Case

The plaintiff here was riding on a shuttle bus to the airport while on an Italian tour that she booked through the defendant travel agent. She alleges that while she was on the shuttle, the driver was speeding and then slammed on the brakes. The quick stop caused a suitcase to fall from the overhead storage compartment and hit her on the head. She then brought thus suit against the travel agent and the company that operated the tour. The plaintiff is alleging negligence, vicarious liability, negligent infliction of emotional distress, and breach of contract.


The concept of negligence underlies almost all of tort law. In order for the court to find that a party was negligent, the plaintiff must prove certain elements. First, the plaintiff must show that the defendant owed them some kind of duty. Second, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant breached this duty of care. The plaintiff then needs to prove to the factfinder that the breach caused their injuries and then prove the damages that they are due from those injuries.

Generally, negligence is when someone does not act reasonably under all the circumstances. The circumstances include the kind of relationship that the plaintiff has with the defendant. For example, your surgeon owes you a different duty of care than your mail carrier does. Sometimes employers and business owners are responsible for negligence by their employees or other people. However, the plaintiff needs to prove that there was some negligence on the part of the business owner. Here, the plaintiff is arguing that the travel agency and the tour company are responsible for the allegedly negligent driving by the shuttle driver.

Requirements for a Complaint

The first step of a lawsuit is a complaint. The complaint is filed by the plaintiff and is usually what kicks off the suit. Massachusetts law requires that the complaint alleges facts that state a claim for relief, and it needs to be plausible on its face. While the level of proof is nowhere near what it needs to be for a favorable verdict, the plaintiff needs to show some kind of factual basis for their claims.

Here, the court held that the plaintiff did not have enough of a factual basis for her claims. There is no proof or credible allegations that the driver was in any way under the control or employment of the tour operator or the travel agency. Therefore, the court granted the defendants’ motions to dismiss.   

Contact an Experienced Massachusetts Personal Injury Attorney Today!

If you or a loved one has been injured or died due to the negligence of another, you may be able to recover the damages that you are owed. The skilled Massachusetts personal injury attorneys at Neumann Law Group serve Boston, Worcester, Canton, and other areas in Massachusetts. Schedule your free consultation today by calling (617) 918-7790 or use the contact form on this website.

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