A plaintiff was injured in February 2013 when he fell from scaffolding on a construction site while employed by a contractor of the defendant. The plaintiff thereafter filed suit for negligence against the defendant, alleging that the defendant violated several Massachusetts state regulations and federal Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) regulations concerning the safety of the worksite.
The trial judge allowed the plaintiff to introduce the OSHA regulations at trial but concluded that he could not introduce the state regulations because they were preempted by OSHA. After trial, the jury determined that the plaintiff was 51 percent negligent in causing his own injuries and that the defendant was only 49 percent negligent. The plaintiff therefore did not recover damages, and judgment was entered dismissing his complaint. On appeal, he claimed that the trial judge erroneously prevented him from introducing the state regulations at trial because they are not preempted by OSHA, and he was entitled to a new trial because the state regulations would have made a difference in the verdict. The Massachusetts appeals court disagreed and affirmed the lower court’s judgment.