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All Massachusetts personal injury and wrongful death cases are subject to strict filing deadlines called “statutes of limitation.” Cases not filed within the time set forth by these statutes are almost always dismissed on procedural grounds.

It is important to note that, in some cases, there may be other deadlines – sometimes, much shorter deadlines – in addition to the general statute of limitations. Again, failure to act within the required time period can be fatal to a plaintiff’s case.

One example of this is a claim against a city or municipality. In these cases, at least some type of minimal legal action (such as the giving of notice) must be taken within a matter of days, or else the plaintiff will be barred from monetary recovery against the responsible governmental entity.

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In a Cape Cod dog bite injury lawsuit, there can be a wide variety of issues. As always, the burden of proof lies on the party asserting the claim.

Insurance coverage can be an issue in some cases. Depending on the facts, it may be the plaintiff, or it may be the defendant who is seeking a declaration from the court to the effect that the plaintiff’s claim (if it is ultimately proven) is covered by a particular policy of insurance.

As in other cases in which an insurance company seeks to avoid liability for one reason or the other, proving that there is insurance coverage can be just as difficult a battle – if not even more so – than proving the elements of the underlying case.

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Most Cape Cod medical malpractice cases are settled out of court, but some do proceed to trial. During trial, it is likely that at least a couple of expert medical witnesses will testify, one on behalf of the plaintiff and one on behalf of the defendant.

Because a lot can hinge on the testimony of the parties’ respective witnesses, it is not unusual for evidentiary and procedural issues to arise during this phase of the trial.

It is up to the trial court judge to resolve these issues, subject to review by the appellate court if either party seeks a review of the trial court’s decision(s) in this regard.

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As technology evolves, so does Massachusetts criminal law. Just as those who intentionally engage in criminal activity often rely on technology such as cell phones to conduct their business, police officers and others in law enforcement increasingly rely on information obtained through technology that, just a decade or two ago, may not have even existed.

When an arrest is made based on information obtained through the use of a technological device, the courts must consider whether police acted lawfully in light of the 4th Amendment prohibition against unlawful searches and seizures, as well as other relevant legal principles.

Facts of the Case

In an appellate case arising from a decision of the Supreme Judicial Court for the County of Suffolk, the defendant was a man who was indicted on a charge of trafficking cocaine in violation of Massachusetts General Laws ch. 94C, § 32E(b) after police found cocaine and cash in a crawlspace located inside his residence. This evidence was found during a warrantless search, to which the defendant consented after police obtained his location through use of the defendant’s cell site location information. The defendant filed a motion to suppress the cocaine and cash on the grounds that they had been the fruit of an illegal search and seizure.

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If you are the parent of an infant or toddler, you probably already know that there are more baby products on the market than ever before. When choosing from a seeming multitude of options, how can you be assured that you are buying a product that is safe, rather than a potentially dangerous product that may eventually become the subject of a Massachusetts product liability lawsuit?

The unfortunate fact is that you cannot know, with absolute certainty, which items are safe, and which are not. However, there are some ways to research a particular product before making a purchase.

The federal government has a website that is somewhat of a “clearinghouse” for recalls and product advisories concerning several different products, including consumer products aimed at children and child safety seats.

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Most Massachusetts personal injury lawsuits proceed in a back-and-forth fashion reminiscent of a tennis match. The plaintiff serves his or her complaint on the defendant, and then the defendant responds by filing an answer.

The parties then file discovery requests, to which the opposing party files an answer. Motions may be filed, with responses thereto filed by the other side. Eventually, if the case is not settled, a trial is held, with more back-and-forth exchanges between the plaintiff and the defendant.

Sometimes, however, a defendant may not conduct his or herself in the usual manner, potentially leading to a default judgment – a judgment declaring that the plaintiff is entitled to relief because the defendant has failed to file an answer denying the allegations in his or her complaint.

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Dealing with an insurance company while seeking fair compensation for personal injuries or a loved one’s wrongful death can be extremely frustrating, especially for someone who has not yet retained counsel. Even when attorneys are involved, however, the insurance company may still hold tightly to its purse strings, refusing to offer a settlement that the plaintiff and his or her counsel believe is reasonable.

Under Massachusetts wrongful death law, there are consequences for insurance companies that refuse to negotiate claims in good faith, as well as for those that engage in unfair or deceptive acts. However, defining what is or is not good faith in a given situation can be even more contentious that the claim itself.

Facts of the Case

In a recent case, the plaintiff was the administrator of the estate of a woman (his deceased mother) who allegedly perished as a result of the negligence of a certain nursing home. The plaintiff filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the nursing home, and the case proceeded to trial. The jury found in favor of the plaintiff, and the trial court entered judgment upon a multi-million dollar verdict in favor of the plaintiff, finding that the nursing home was liable to the plaintiff for his mother’s wrongful death and her conscious pain and suffering. Continue reading

Under the 4th Amendment to the United States Constitution, police officers are required to obtain a warrant in order to execute a search and seizure of a criminal defendant’s home in most situations. Whether or not an exception exists to this general rule is a frequent issue in a Massachusetts criminal case.

Facts of the Case

In a recent case, police entered a building that contained four apartments. They did not have a warrant but were acting on information supplied by a 9-1-1 caller to the effect that she had seen some men go into the building with a gun. There had been several home invasions in town, although the record did not specify whether those events were in the same neighborhood. While they were conducting “protective sweep” of the building, police officers observed what appeared to be illegal narcotics. After the suspects were arrested in a different part of the building, officers obtained a search warrant for the apartment unit in which the drugs were seen, and the resident thereof was indicted.

Massachusetts medical malpractice law requires that a party who is seeking to assert a claim of negligence against a health care practitioner provide proof of his or her claim before a malpractice review tribunal before his or her case can proceed to a regular court of law.

If the tribunal does not find enough evidence for the case to continue, the plaintiff does have an “out,” in that he or she can post a bond. If this is not economically feasible, the plaintiff also has the option of appealing the tribunal’s decision to the appellate court for further review.

Facts of the Case

In a recent wrongful death case considered by the Massachusetts Appeals Court, the plaintiff was the personal representative of the estate of a 29-year-old woman who died while under the care of the defendant doctors and others. The decedent presented herself at the hospital when she was 38 1/2 weeks pregnant, complaining that she was in labor. She was in good health and had given birth two two children previously. She died at the hospital some 25 hours later.

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Massachusetts product liability cases can cover a multitude of products – from the cars we drive to the toys that amuse our children to the medications that we take to try to be our healthiest selves.

Product injury lawsuits are not easy, and litigation can be lengthy. In many cases, there are a number of obstacles that must be overcome, if the plaintiff is to ultimately receive fair compensation for his or her injuries (or for a loved one’s death).

Facts of the Case

In a recent federal case, the plaintiffs had filed individual lawsuits against the defendant pharmaceutical companies, asserting that the defendants had engaged in “off label” prescription drug marketing and fraud intended to push their antidepressant drugs on minors for whom the Federal Drug Administration had not approved usage. The plaintiffs’ actions were aggregated for pretrial proceedings by order of a multi-district litigation panel.

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