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firearmsIn a Cape Cod criminal case, the Commonwealth has the burden of proving the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If police acted illegally during the arrest or investigation of the case, it may be possible to have certain evidence excluded at trial.

Even if a defendant is convicted, a case may be reviewed on appeal. It is not unheard of for an appellate court to disagree with a trial court as to whether the evidence introduced at trial was sufficient to support the defendant’s conviction.

Facts of the Case

In a case recently reviewed by the Massachusetts Appeals Court, a criminal defendant was convicted of several crimes involving the unlawful possession of a firearm. He sought reversal of his conviction on appeal, arguing, among other things, that police had violated the Fourth Amendment by conducting an illegal search and seizure and that there was insufficient evidence to support certain aspects of his conviction.

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funeralWhen someone causes the death of another person through an act of negligence or conduct that is considered to be willful, wanton, or reckless, the wrongdoer may be held liable through a Massachusetts wrongful death lawsuit. Of course, liability will not apply in every instance in which one person is responsible for the death of another, as there are several legal defenses to a civil lawsuit claiming wrongful death.

If the defendant believes that he or she has a defense to the plaintiff’s claims such that a finding of liability would be improper, he or she may file a motion to dismiss the plaintiff’s case. The trial court must then decide whether the plaintiff’s case should be dismissed or should proceed to trial.

Facts of the Case

In a recently reported case, the plaintiff was the personal representative of the estate of a man who was killed by the defendant state trooper during an incident in 2013. The decedent had a long history of mental illness and sometimes failed to comply with doctor’s orders regarding the taking of his prescription medication. On the day of the incident at issue, the decedent had allegedly been traveling erratically along a multi-lane state highway before coming to a stop on the side of the road. Another motorist called 911, and the defendant trooper responded to the call during which the decedent was shot.

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prescription drugsA Cape Code product liability lawsuit can arise from many different types of products, including prescription medications. Drug-based product liability cases can involve products that were defectively designed or manufactured, but more often they may claim that the manufacturer failed to warn consumers of possible complications from usage of the medication.

Of course, the plaintiff has the burden of proving that the defendant is liable for his or her injuries, and this can be a challenge in many cases. If the plaintiff’s complaint does not alleged sufficient facts to support a viable cause of action against the defendant, the trial court may dismiss the plaintiff’s case.

Facts of the Case

In a case recently ruled upon by the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts, the plaintiff was a man who claimed that he suffered serious side effects from a prescription medication and that the defendants, a drug manufacturer and a research and development company, failed to warn him of these possible issues. The drug in question was Risperdal, which is an anti-psychotic drug. The plaintiff, who is an inmate at a correctional institution in Bridgewater, Massachusetts, was purportedly prescribed the drug due to a diagnosis of a personality disorder. According to the plaintiff, the drug caused him to gain weight, have tremors, and develop gynecomastia (increased breast tissue).

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medical assessmentIn a Cape Cod car accident case, the plaintiff may seek reimbursement of medical expenses and lost wages necessitated by the motor vehicle collision. He or she may also seek money damages for pain and suffering in most cases.

However, if the plaintiff’s medical expenses are $2000 or less, he or she is not entitled to compensation for pain and suffering unless certain exceptions (such as permanent disfigurement or loss of sight) apply.

Facts of the Case

In a recent unreported court decision issued by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Appeals Court, the plaintiff was allegedly injured while riding in a wheelchair inside a vehicle owned by one defendant and driven by the other. According to the plaintiff, the driver stopped abruptly, causing her to fall part of the way out of her wheelchair. At trial, the plaintiff introduced certified copies of her medical records, but she did not submit any evidence of her medical costs. Continue reading

carsA Massachusetts product liability lawsuit can arise from a wide array of defective products. Sometimes, these products are the subject of a recall by the manufacturer or a governmental entity, but often they are not.

Nevertheless, it is wise to stay abreast of the latest recalls in order to avoid possible safety issues concerning consumer products, motor vehicles, foods, or other items.

Vehicle Recalls Recently Issues

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration maintains a website that lists all of the latest recalls for cars, trucks, sport utility vehicles, vans, and the like. You can search for recalls specific to your automobile if you have the vehicle identification number (VIN). Recent recalls include certain Chevrolet Silverados and Tahoes, which may develop a loose or inoperative brake pedal. Because this could result in a crash, vehicle owners should contact General Motors for information on having a repair made.

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funeralIn a Massachusetts wrongful death suit seeking compensation for the death of a loved one, a claim must be filed in a court with appropriate jurisdiction and venue over the matter. Generally speaking, venue in a personal injury or wrongful death case can be found in the county and state in which the accident happened.

Sometimes, however, a matter is more complicated, such as when the federal courts have either concurrent or exclusive jurisdiction over a particular claim. In such a situation, if suit is filed in an inappropriate or inconvenient forum it may be possible to have the case transferred to the appropriate federal court.

Facts of the Case

In a federal district court case originally filed in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, the plaintiffs were the owners of a commercial fishing vessel that was lost at sea during a clamming voyage that departed from Fairhaven, Massachusetts, in early December 2017. Two crew members perished during voyage, and representatives of their estates sought to file claims against the owners of the vessel. The vessel owners’ suit sought exoneration from or limitation as to liability based upon the Limitation of Liability Act, 46 U.S.C. § 30501 et seq. The federal district court in New Jersey entered an order admonishing all persons with claims arising from the sinking of the plaintiffs’ vessel to file such claims by a certain deadline. Continue reading

financialWhen the negligence of an individual, business, or governmental entity causes physical harm or death to someone, the accident victim (or his or her family, if the victim perished) has a legal right to seek compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages through a Massachusetts personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit.

If the case proceeds to a jury trial and the plaintiff is successful, he or she may also be entitled to prejudgment interest on the damages award entered by the jury.

Facts of the Case

In a recent federal case, the plaintiffs obtained a jury verdict against the defendants, an equipment company and another business, awarding them $8,250,000 in damages for injuries suffered due to the defendants’ negligence. Thereafter, the plaintiffs filed a motion seeking 12% prejudgment interest on the total amount of the judgment from February 25, 2015, until the day the judgment was entered. The defendants opposed the motion, arguing that the portions of the jury’s verdict pertaining to future lost earnings and future medical and personal care were not subject to prejudgment interest. Continue reading

property parcelsIn order to prevail on a claim that one has suffered personal injury, property damage, or a loved one’s wrongful death, the plaintiff in a Massachusetts negligence lawsuit must be able to prove four elements: duty, breach of duty, damages, and causation.

The question of whether causation exists in a given case is dependent, in part, on whether the injury that befell the plaintiff was reasonably foreseeable to the defendant under the facts of the case.

Facts of the Case

In a recent lawsuit between two businesses who shared a parking lot, the plaintiff alleged that one of the defendant’s employees left a piece of heavy-duty equipment unlocked, unattended, and running (with keys in the ignition) in the parties’ shared parking lot in the middle of the night and that an “unauthorized third-party” (i.e., a vandal) used the piece of equipment to inflict extensive damage on some of the plaintiff’s property. Continue reading

medical assessmentThe underlying premise of the body of law known as “negligence” is that those who breach a duty to those whom such a duty is owed should be held financially liable for the foreseeable consequences of their action (or inaction, as the case may be).

This means that, in a Massachusetts wrongful death lawsuit, the plaintiff has the duty of proving all four elements of negligence (duty, breach of duty, damages, and causation) by a preponderance of the evidence.

Typically, the arguments at trial revolve around whether a duty was breached and, if so, how money the plaintiff should be awarded for his or her losses. However, sometimes the parties disagree as to whether the defendant owed a legal duty to the plaintiff under the circumstances of the case. In such a situation, it is up to the courts to decide.

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Unlike other personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits, Massachusetts medical malpractice claims must be reviewed by a special tribunal before they may proceed in a regular courtroom. If the tribunal does not believe the claim has merit, the plaintiff has the option of filing a bond and continuing with his or her case. A recent appellate court decision dealt with this procedure, answering the question of whether the bond has to be in cash or whether a surety bond will suffice.Legal News Gavel

Facts of the Case

In the recently reviewed appellate case, the plaintiff was a man who sought to recover compensation for an alleged act of medical negligence by the defendant health care provider. He commenced his action pursuant to Massachusetts General Laws chapter 231, § 60B, and a medical malpractice tribunal was convened to review the evidence against the defendant. After consideration, the tribunal concluded that the plaintiff had not presented sufficient evidence to raise a legitimate question of liability appropriate for judicial inquiry, as required under Massachusetts law.