Summary Judgment for Defendant Construction Contractor

Attorneys Gerard Donnelly and Tara Lynch successfully obtained summary judgment on behalf of a large construction contractor in an action arising from a fall on a walkway located in front of a prominent Boston college. The plaintiff alleged that he was caused to fall while walking when he stepped into a ditch or depression located on or near the sidewalk area. The plaintiff alleged he sustained significant injuries, including a shattered ankle and fractured tibia requiring ORIF and screw removal surgeries, a lengthy recovery, lost earning capacity and emotional distress. Plaintiff’s medicals exceeded $42,000.00. The plaintiff offered conflicting testimony as to the exact location and the circumstances surrounding his alleged fall. Through discovery, counsel examined photographs which revealed that the plaintiff had fallen in a snow-covered hole or depression in the walkway. The plaintiff alleged that a traffic control system or device had likely been removed thereby creating a defect in the walkway. Donnelly and Lynch were able to show that the plaintiff had no reasonable expectation of showing that the defendant contractor had created the alleged defect or was involved in the removal of any traffic control devices in the area. Further, the plaintiff’s accident occurred in 2007, some 14-plus months after the defendant contractor’s project in an adjacent area was completed. Moreover, the attorneys were able to show that the Boston Transportation Department had taken control of the subject area and traffic signals in 2005. After oral arguments, Suffolk Superior Court Judge Peter M. Lauriat agreed, granting summary judgment in favor of the defendant contractor.