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Claudine A. Cloutier
CCloutier@kecheslaw.com
508-822-2000

On June 27, 2017 the jury verdict in case awarded Mr. Pocknett a total of $2,892,857 for his damages and awarded Mrs. Pocknett $1,142,857 for her loss of her husband’s consortium and society.

According to court documents, the case was the result of injuries suffered on February 26, 2014, Plaintiff David Pocknett, age 60, was performing drywall installation in a stairway at the Mashpee Archives Building. Mr. Pocknett was standing on staging planks supported by a cleat that had been nailed to a wall / header. The cleat became dislodged causing Mr. Pocknett to fall approximately 8 feet to the floor below, sustaining a severe ankle fracture, leg fracture, neck fractures, and injuries to his wrists and face. At trial Plaintiffs alleged that Defendant All Cape Insulation and Supply, Inc’s employee had installed the cleat and had used nails that were too short to secure the cleat to the wall properly. Mr. Pocknett’s wife, Shelley Pocknett, also brought a loss of consortium claim.

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The start of summer is the official kick-off for vacation and road trip season for most, but for those who work tirelessly to keep our roads in good driving condition, it can mean months of danger.

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Sean C. Flaherty
SFlaherty@kecheslaw.com
508.822.2000

Construction season ramps up in Massachusetts after Memorial Day once the risk of frost and cold weather has passed, and this concentration of road work generally lasts into fall. It’s a relatively small window of time for road work, and yet hundreds of crashes occur each year in work zones, putting the lives of construction workers at serious peril.

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Adam-Becker

Adam Becker
508-822-2000
ABecker@KechesLaw.com

Under the law of premises liability, landlords and tenants may be held responsible for injuries that occur on their property.  Whether the landlord or the tenant will be held responsible for a particular injury will depend on the facts of the accident and, in some cases, the contract or lease between the landlord and tenant.

Types of accidents that may give rise to liability for a landlord or tenant include those which involve injuries caused by the use of faulty building materials or by building materials that have become deteriorated over time as well as by poor construction or design.  Liability may also attach to a landlord if someone is injured due to tripping and falling over clutter, debris or garbage in common areas of the property.  Another common type of accident that would give rise to a claim against a landlord or tenant would be a slip and fall accident involving ice in a parking lot, walkway or stairway or from moisture on a floor.

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On March 1, 2017, at 10 Milk Street in Downtown Boston, a member of the Boston Police Department was struck by debris falling from construction-related scaffolding.  The police officer was working a detail when the falling debris struck his head and shoulder, causing a large laceration (or cut) to his head, and potentially breaking his collar bone.  Reports of the accident indicate that although the officer was taken to a hospital from the scene of the accident, he was okay and his injuries were not severe. [http://boston.cbslocal.com/2017/03/01/police-officer-injured-falling-scaffolding-boston/]

A twitter user and local Bostonian tweeted this picture [https://twitter.com/AlisonTBoston/status/837011997837377536] in the wake of the accident.  In the bottom right hand corner, you can see the truck where scaffolding was being loaded or unloaded.

According to a commenter to the UniversalHub.com headline for the accident, the entire job site was unsafe from start to finish.  “I couldn’t believe how cavalier they were being with their safety and ours,” said user Kaz, on March 1, 2017 at 4:12pm.    [http://www.universalhub.com/2017/scaffolding-falls-milk-street#comments.]  As that commenter described it, the contractors and scaffolding company had “no protections up anywhere and one guy about 10 feet up was KICKING a steel I-beam across the scaffold into place right up against the edge along the sidewalk where pedestrians were still being allowed to pass (myself included).”  The UniversalHub.com user, Kaz, seemed to be talking about his or her experience at the accident site from the day before the accident actually occurred; this could indicate an ongoing lack of safety or supervision on the jobsite.

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Adam-Becker

Adam Becker
508-822-2000
ABecker@KechesLaw.com

DO I NEED AN “UMBRELLA” INSURANCE POLICY

Umbrella insurance, also referred to as a catastrophic liability insurance, is insurance that provides you with additional or supplemental coverage beyond the traditional bodily injury coverage provided by your automobile, boat or homeowners insurance.

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Adam-Becker

Adam Becker
508-822-2000
ABecker@KechesLaw.com

What You Should Know About Uninsured/Underinsured Automobile Insurance

Turn on the television these days and you are guaranteed to see advertisements by local and national insurance companies encouraging you to switch to them for your automobile insurance needs.  Each one will tout that they can provide you with the cheapest rates.  What they aren’t telling you is that, in most cases, the way they are able to undercut the rates of their competitors is by trimming or cutting back on some of the coverages that you may some day need.

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Ryan P. Kelley
(508) 738-2627
RKelley@kecheslaw.com

A Brief Overview of the Standards for Snow and Ice Cases in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut

As the weather begins its cold turn and the ice starts to claim our windshields, you may find yourself wondering to what extent can a landlord or commercial tenant be liable in the event you slip and fall on snow or ice and injure yourself on their property.  Below is a brief overview of the duties imposed on property owners/commercial tenants in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island.  Whether you have a case against a city, town or a state is not addressed in this blog.  Please be advised that cases against cities, towns or states often have strict, statutory prerequisites to the bringing of a claim and you should consult an attorney as soon as possible in the event you have been injured due to snow and ice in an area controlled by a city, town or state.

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Tom Delmar Tdelmar@kecheslaw.com 508.822.2000

Tom Delmar
Tdelmar@kecheslaw.com
508.822.2000

Most employers maintain a company handbook, employee manual, or something similar. This handbook will be provided to employees when they start their new job and often outlines the rules of the job-place, leave and vacation policies, and the employer’s expectations. Sometimes, these handbooks will outline a progressive discipline procedure, and rules regarding how an employee should resign or how the company may terminate an employee’s job.

Employers oftentimes break their own handbook rules. They may not provide a written reason for termination, or not follow their own progressive discipline policy. This can be quite frustrating for employees, and unfair, as employees rely on the handbook to follow procedure and expect the employer to similarly follow the handbook rules.

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Adam Becker 508-822-2000 ABekcker@KEchesLaw.com

Adam Becker
508-822-2000
ABekcker@KEchesLaw.com

Preserving the Evidence (A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words)

We have all heard the old saying “a picture is worth a thousand words”.  But what does it really mean and how is it relevant to the practice of personal injury law.

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Brian C. Dever 508-738-2272 BDever@Kecheslaw.com

Brian C. Dever
508-738-2272
BDever@Kecheslaw.com

In a few months, as the seasons begin to change and summer gives way to fall, our focus may turn to the trees of New England, as their leaves begin their annual change in color. It happens every fall, and it brings visitors in to the area from all over the country, and the world. Trees are a part of the New England identity, so much so that, in Massachusetts, we have a special statute concerning harm to trees and the amount of money a landowner can recover if his or her trees are cut down by another.

Pursuant to Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 242 §7, Willful Trespass to Trees, a landowner may recover damages for the loss of trees, timber, wood, or underwood, caused by the actions of another. If trespasser does not have a good reason to believe that the trees were on his/her land, then those damages are automatically multiplied by three, which is called treble damages. The case law informs us that “good reason” requires something more substantial than a (false) belief in property lines. According to Palmer v. Davidson, 211 Mass. 556, 98 N.E. 623 (1912), a mere belief that one has the right to cut down trees does not create a “good reason” that the trees are on his/her land. The statute creates an affirmative duty on the part of the tree cutter to investigate his/her rights prior to cutting down any trees. The duty can be satisfied by getting a surveyor or through a professional examination of the deed to the land. Thus, if someone has paid a surveyor to assess their property rights, and relying on that surveyor’s incorrect statements cuts down trees on another’s land, they would not be liable for treble damages, but would still be liable for the damage to the trees.

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