Massachusetts Court Discusses Liability of Public Corporations

While parties can usually be held responsible for inflicting bodily harm on others, recovering damages might be difficult when the person who caused the injury works for a public employer, such as a city. Specifically, the Massachusetts Tort Claims Act (MTCA), guards public corporations from liability in a range of situations and places strict notice obligations on potential litigants. A court in Massachusetts recently reviewed what is considered adequate sufficient notice of a potential tort claim under the MTCA in a case involving injuries incurred during an arrest. If you suffered harm due to someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation and should confer with a Massachusetts personal injury lawyer promptly.

Injuries Sustained by the Plaintiff

The plaintiff was apparently driving home from work when he was stopped by a police officer that worked for the defendant city. The officer apparently apprehended the plaintiff due to an anonymous tip that the plaintiff was carrying a gun. The officer hauled the plaintiff out of his car, pushed him to the ground, and fractured his neck, collarbone, and shoulder. The officer did not find a gun in the plaintiff’s possession, and therefore he was released.

The plaintiff allegedly filed a case against the defendant city pursuant to the MTCA, asserting it was liable for the officer’s negligence. The defendant filed a motion to dismiss, alleging that the plaintiff failed to provide the required notice under the MTCA. The court ultimately ruled in favor of the plaintiff.

Notice Requirements Under the MTCA

A public employer is liable under the MTCA for bodily harm caused by a public employee’s unlawful or negligent act while on the job. The MTCA specifies that no lawsuit against a public employer may be brought unless the plaintiff first submits a written claim to the public employer’s executive officer, however. The notice must be sent within two years of the alleged harm, and the executive officer must reject the claim in writing. If a public employer neglects to respond to a claim within six months, the lack of a response will be considered a denial.

The plaintiff’s attorney in the case at hand wrote to the defendant in August 2018, nearly eight months after the incident, describing the circumstances of the incident and proposing an amicable resolution. Thus, despite the defendant’s assertions, the court found that the letter gave the plaintiff ample notice of his claim. As a result, the court denied the defendant’s motion for summary judgment.

Consult a Skillful Massachusetts Attorney Regarding Your Potential Claims

People who suffer harm at the hands of another can often recover compensation for their losses. If you sustained personal injuries because of someone else’s reckless behavior, it is in your best interest to consult an attorney regarding your potential claims. The skillful lawyers of The Law Offices of John C. Manoog, III, can evaluate the circumstances surrounding your harm and gather the evidence needed to provide you with a strong chance of obtaining a favorable result. You can contact us through our online form or by calling us at 888-262-6664 to set up a conference.


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