Apr 5 2017

Courtroom Success 2017-10: Morrison Mahoney Attorneys Prevail on Appeal

A team of Morrison Mahoney attorneys won two summary judgment motions in Superior Court and kept the win in the Appeals Court. The team comprised Of Counsel Richard Neumeier, Partner Joe Flanagan, and Associates Jessica O’Brien and Matt Barron. We represented the owner of an eight-unit residential building who allegedly negligently hired and supervised a roofing contractor. The contractor hired a sub to do the work and an employee of the sub was severely injured when he fell while carrying a bundle of roof shingles up a ladder without proper safeguards. No Massachusetts court has directly addressed whether there can be a cause of action for negligently hiring an independent contractor, particularly when the injured party was an employee of the contractor (many states won’t permit such a claim).

Richard drafted the Appeals Court brief and argued the case in the Appeals Court. The Appeals Court held, like the Superior Court had held previously, that even if such a cause of action were recognized, there was no causation because there was no evidence that the contractor was unfit for the job (even though the contractor had clearly been negligent in this case). Joe had argued the summary judgment motion which had been drafted by Matt. Jessica had drafted a prior summary judgment motion which resulted in the Superior Court dismissing all counts except the negligent hiring count and invited re-briefing after completion of discovery. 

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