Posts tagged "Sheehan"

Sheehan v. Weaver, et al. (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-066-14)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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;     SJC‑11395   WILLIAM SHEEHAN  vs.  DAVID B. WEAVER & another.[1]     Essex.     December 2, 2013.  ‑  April 10, 2014. Present:  Ireland, C.J., Spina, Cordy, Botsford, Gants, Duffly, & Lenk, JJ.     State Building Code.  Building.  Strict Liability.  Statute, Construction.       Civil action commenced in the Northeast Division of the Housing Court Department on July 14, 2008.   The case was tried before David D. Kerman, J., and a motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict or for a new trial was heard by him.   The Supreme Judicial Court on its own initiative transferred the case from the Appeals Court.     Peter C. Kober for the defendants. Louis J. Muggeo (Stephen M. Zolotas with him) for the plaintiff. The following submitted briefs for amici curiae: John F. Brosnan for Massachusetts Defense Lawyers Association. J. Michael Conley, Thomas R. Murphy, & Jeffrey Petrucelly for Massachusetts Academy of Trial Attorneys. Carol A. Kelly for Property Casualty Insurers Association of America. Martin J. Rooney for Boston Housing Authority.       DUFFLY, J.  After spending an evening drinking with a friend, the plaintiff, William Sheehan, returned to his apartment on Rantoul Street in Beverly, which he rented from the defendants, Jean C. Weaver and David B. Weaver, the owner and manager of the property, respectively.  Sheehan ascended an exterior staircase leading to an outer door on the second floor landing, where he leaned against the staircase guardrail.  The guardrail broke, and Sheehan fell to the pavement below, suffering serious injuries as a result.  Sheehan filed a complaint against the Weavers in the Housing Court.  A jury found both parties negligent and apportioned to Sheehan forty per cent of the comparative negligence.  The jury found also that, pursuant to G. L. c. 143, § 51 (§ 51), the Weavers were strictly liable for Sheehan’s injuries because they were caused by various violations of the State building code.  Section 51 imposes strict liability on an owner, or other party, in control of “a place of assembly, theatre, special hall, public hall, factory, workshop, manufacturing establishment or building” for damages caused by a violation of “the provisions of [G. L. c. 143] and the state building code.”  The Weavers filed a motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict or in the alternative for a new trial, arguing in part that § 51 did not apply in the circumstances.  This motion was […]


Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - April 10, 2014 at 4:52 pm

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