Morrison Mahoney Partners Ralph Sullivan and Amy Parker recently prevailed in the Massachusetts Appeals Court in a fatal snow and ice case. A three judge panel affirmed the allowance of our motion to dismiss, which was drafted by Amy Parker and argued by Ralph Sullivan at the Suffolk Superior Court. Amy wrote the appellate brief and argued the appeal on Zoom.
The plaintiff’s decedent was struck and killed by a motor vehicle while he was walking along the edge of a street in front of our client’s retail business. The plaintiff alleged that the decedent was forced to walk in the street because the public sidewalk was snow covered and impassable. The plaintiff’s complaint failed to make any allegation that our client caused or created any condition which prevented the decedent from walking on the sidewalk. However, at the hearing on our motion to dismiss, the plaintiff’s counsel argued that the defendant had pushed snow onto the sidewalk, thereby creating the impassable condition. Plaintiff’s counsel never attempted to amend his complaint to alleged that our clients created a condition which prevented the decedent from using the sidewalk. Accordingly the court noted that they were left to “rest solely on the allegation in the pleadings."