Posts tagged "Equipment"

Williamson-Green v. Equipment 4 Rent, Inc. (Lawyers Weekly No. 11-023-16)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.  If you find a typographical error or other formal error, please notify the Reporter of Decisions, Supreme Judicial Court, John Adams Courthouse, 1 Pemberton Square, Suite 2500, Boston, MA, 02108-1750; (617) 557-1030; SJCReporter@sjc.state.ma.us   15-P-114                                        Appeals Court   MICHELLE WILLIAMSON-GREEN, administratrix,[1]  vs.  EQUIPMENT 4 RENT, INC. No. 15-P-114. Suffolk.     November 3, 2015. – March 3, 2016.   Present:  Kafker, C.J., Vuono, & Hanlon, JJ. Negligence, Gross negligence.  Damages, Punitive.  Practice, Civil, Directed verdict, Judgment notwithstanding verdict.       Civil action commenced in the Superior Court Department on April 24, 2009.   The case was tried before Janet L. Sanders, J., and a motion for a new trial or for remittitur was heard by her.     Thomas F. Maffei (Margaret C. Kelty with him) for the defendant. Joan A. Lukey for the plaintiff.      KAFKER, C.J.  James Williamson was perched more than one hundred feet high on a boom lift, inspecting the roof of a university building in Boston, when the machine tipped over and crashed into a neighboring building, killing him.  The boom lift had been manufactured by Grove U.S., LLC (Grove), and rented from the defendant Equipment 4 Rent, Inc. (E4R).  Williamson’s wife, Michelle Williamson-Green, as administratrix of Williamson’s estate, successfully sued Grove and E4R for damages associated with her husband’s wrongful death.  The jury found that negligence of Grove and of E4R each was “a direct and substantial factor in causing the death of Mr. Williamson.”  The jury also found that “E4R’s conduct [was] grossly negligent, wilful, wanton, or reckless.”  The jury awarded $ 3,692,657.40 in compensatory damages against E4R and Grove, together with $ 5,900,000 in punitive damages solely against E4R.  The trial judge denied E4R’s motions for a directed verdict and judgment notwithstanding the verdict,[2] judgment entered, and E4R appeals, claiming only that there was insufficient evidence to support the jury’s award of punitive damages.[3]  We affirm. Background.  In considering an appeal of “[t]he denial of a motion for directed verdict or a motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict[, we must review the record] under the same standard used by the trial judge[,] . . . constru[ing] the evidence in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party and disregard[ing] that favorable to the moving party.”  O’Brien v. Pearson, 449 Mass. 377, 383 (2007).  See Christopher v. Father’s Huddle Café, Inc., 57 Mass. App. Ct. 217, 219 (2003).  “Our duty in this regard is to evaluate whether ‘anywhere in the evidence, from whatever source derived, any combination of circumstances could be found from which a reasonable inference could be […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - March 3, 2016 at 9:31 pm

Categories: News   Tags: , , , , , ,

Rose, et al. v. Highway Equipment Company v. Splaine (Lawyers Weekly No. 11-105-14)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.  If you find a typographical error or other formal error, please notify the Reporter of Decisions, Supreme Judicial Court, John Adams Courthouse, 1 Pemberton Square, Suite 2500, Boston, MA, 02108-1750; (617) 557-1030; SJCReporter@sjc.state.ma.us   13-P-1215                                       Appeals Court   ROBERT ROSE & another[1]  vs.  HIGHWAY EQUIPMENT COMPANY; JAY SPLAINE,[2] third-party defendant. No. 13-P-1215. Suffolk.     May 9, 2014.  –  August 27, 2014. Present:  Green, Meade, & Sullivan, JJ. Negligence, Comparative.  Warranty.  Practice, Civil, Affirmative defense, Instructions to jury.  Words, “Unreasonable use.”       Civil action commenced in the Superior Court Department on July 13, 2009.   The case was tried before D. Lloyd Macdonald, J.     Deborah M. Santello for the plaintiffs. Christopher J. Sullivan (Jonathan Klein with him) for Highway Equipment Company. J. Michael Conley & Thomas R. Murphy, for Massachusetts Academy of Trial Attorneys, amicus curiae, submitted a brief.     MEADE, J.  Plaintiff Robert Rose sued Highway Equipment Company (HECO), the manufacturer of a broadcast spreader, after Rose severely injured his hand while oiling the spreader’s chain.[3]  Rose’s suit asserted causes of action for negligence and breach of the implied warranty of merchantability.  On the negligence count, the jury found Rose seventy-three percent negligent and HECO twenty-seven percent negligent, which foreclosed recovery.  See G. L. c. 231, § 85.  On the breach of warranty claim, the jury answered “yes” to the special question of whether Rose’s use of the spreader was unreasonable, barring Rose from recovery on that claim.  See Correia v. Firestone Tire & Rubber Co., 388 Mass. 342, 355 (1983) (Correia).  On appeal, Rose claims that certain jury instructions created reversible error.  We affirm.[4] The jury heard various accounts of how Rose’s hand became caught in the spreader.  It was uncontested that the spreader needed to be running in order for its chain to be effectively oiled.  Rose explained that, before the accident, he was kneeling or crouching between the cab of the truck and the spreader, using something akin to a Windex bottle to spray oil on the chain.  Rose testified that he suddenly felt a tug at the sleeve of his sweatshirt and was unable to extricate himself from the grip of the spreader before his right hand and forearm were pulled into the mechanism.[5]  After the accident, Rose told his boss, who is also his father-in-law, that he was injured when reaching backwards for the bottle of oil.  In contrast, it was HECO’s theory that Rose, after drinking beer earlier that afternoon, lost his balance while on a ladder on the operator’s side of the truck and fell into the […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - August 27, 2014 at 3:21 pm

Categories: News   Tags: , , , , , , ,