Massachusetts Court Explains the Factors Weighed in Conducting a Choice of Law Analysis

Subject to certain parameters, people generally have the right to pursue claims in the forum of their choosing. If a party files a personal injury lawsuit in Massachusetts for harm that occurred in another state, though, it may not immediately be evident which state’s laws apply, and the court will have to make a determination. Recently, a Massachusetts court discussed the factors weighed in conducting a choice of law analysis in a matter arising from an accident that occurred in Rhode Island. If you were hurt due to another party’s carelessness, you could be owed compensation, and you should meet with a Cape Cod personal injury attorney to assess your options.

The Plaintiff’s Harm

It is reported that the plaintiff, a resident of Massachusetts, was working on a construction site in Rhode Island when a piece of machinery crushed his leg. He subsequently filed a lawsuit against the defendant in Massachusetts court, arguing that his harm arose from the negligent supervision. The matter proceeded to trial, and the jury found that the plaintiff was 65% at fault while the defendant was 35% at fault and that Rhode Island’s comparative negligence law applied. The parties all appealed.

Factors Weighed in Conducting a Choice of Law Analysis

On appeal, the court addressed the issue of which state’s law applied. In resolving questions regarding conflict of laws, the courts apply the conflict of laws rules of Massachusetts to determine which state’s laws apply. First, the court must assess whether the choice between the laws of the jurisdictions in question will impact the outcome of the case. Next, the court will determine whether the issue is substantive or procedural.

If it is procedural, Massachusetts law applies. In contrast, for substantive matters, the court will take a functional approach that evaluates the interest of the states involved, the parties, and the interstate system as a whole. In the subject case, the court found that the matter in question was a substantive rather than procedural issue.

Additionally, it impacted the case’s outcome as the plaintiff would be precluded from recovering damages under Massachusetts’ comparative negligence law. The court ultimately determined that Rhode Island had a greater interest in the outcome of the matter and that Rhode Island law should apply. Thus, it affirmed the trial court ruling and entered judgment in favor of the plaintiff.

Talk to a Seasoned Cape Cod Attorney

Construction accidents often cause catastrophic injuries, and in many instances, they are the direct result of negligence. If you were harmed in an accident at a construction site, you should talk to an attorney about your potential claims and what damages you may be able to recover. The seasoned personal injury lawyers of The Law Offices of John C. Manoog, III, possess the skills and experience needed to help you seek a just outcome, and if you hire us, we will advocate zealously on your behalf.  You can reach us through our online form or by calling us at 888-262-6664 to set up a meeting.









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