Appellate Court Finds No Reason to Grant New Trial in Massachusetts Negligence Case – Murray v. Copley Plaza Hotel Operating Company

Have you ever wondered what an appellate court takes into consideration when deciding an appeal?

The answer is that it depends. The fact is that many issues are possible subjects of an appeal. In a recent case, the issues included the admissibility of certain testimony and demonstrative evidence, as well as whether a new trial should have been granted, due to allegedly newly discovered evidence.

Facts of the Case

In the recent (unreported) case of Murray v. Copley Plaza Hotel Operating Company, the plaintiff was a woman who alleged that she was injured at an event that took place in the ballroom of a hotel owned or managed by the defendant. Specifically, the woman claimed that she was struck by a large metal food cart being pushed by two men in matching uniforms and that her right ankle was injured in the accident. Her negligence claim against the defendant was tried to a jury, and the jury returned a verdict in the defendant’s favor. The plaintiff’s motion for a new trial was denied.

The Appellate Court’s Decision

On appeal to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Appeals Court, the plaintiff argued that the trial court judge erred in allowing testimony from a witness proffered by the defendant, as well as certain photographs of the ballroom and food carts. She also averred that the lower court should have allowed her to introduce hearsay testimony concerning the two men who were pushing the food cart at the time of the accident and that she should have been granted a new trial based on newly discovered evidence.

After duly considering these issues, however, the appellate court affirmed the trial court’s order refusing the plaintiff’s motion for a new trial. With regard to the testimony of the defendant’s witness, the court found that there was nothing irregular about his testimony and that the plaintiff had an opportunity to cross-examine the witness and even re-cross-examine him. Ultimately, it was up to the jury to determine the witness’ credibility. The court likewise found no reversible error with regard to the trial court’s decision to allow photographs of the carts or a step going into the ballroom.

As to the hearsay testimony proffered by the plaintiff, the court found that, without evidence as to the men’s identity or their relationship to the defendant, it was not an error for the trial court to declare their statements were inadmissible hearsay. Finally, the court determined that the plaintiff was not entitled to a new trial based on newly discovered evidence concerning the workings of the ballroom or the use of carts in such a room. According to the court, these were topics that were reasonably discoverable by the plaintiff in the first trial.

Have You Been Injured on Someone Else’s Property?

Premises liability law offers relief to those who have been injured due to the negligence of a property owner. The experienced Cape Cod premises liability attorneys at the Law Offices of John C. Manoog, III, can explain the respective duties that business operators and landowners owe to invitees, licensees, and even trespassers under Massachusetts law. Call us toll-free at (888) 262-6664 for an appointment to discuss your case. The statute of limitations limits the time an injured person has to file a claim, so do not delay in talking to an attorney about your legal rights following an accident.

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