Boston Partner Joe Desmond and Associate Bill Wynne, who recently prevailed at the Massachusetts Appeals Court on behalf of Boston's Old North Church in a premises liability action arising from a fall in which the plaintiff sustained a broken neck in a fall inside the church. In a published opinion, the Appeals Court upheld the trial court's ruling that the Recreational Use Statute, G.L. c. 21, § 17C barred liability on the plaintiff's negligence claims, including those based upon alleged building code violations because her accident occurred during a tour of the Old North Church for which the defendants did not impose a fee.
The Appeals Court also upheld the trial court's ruling that the plaintiff could not succeed on her claims pursuant to the Consumer Protection Statute. The plaintiff argued on appeal that the church and the foundation were liable under c.93A because the church was not in compliance with certain Architectural Access Board (AAB) accessibility requirements. Citing Darviris v. Petros, 442 Mass. 274, 280 (2004), the Appeals Court agreed that the Church defendants did not commit an "unfair or deceptive" act or practice in failing to comply with AAB regulations concerning access for handicapped individuals.