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Jan 2014

Jack Coakley secured an arbitrator’s award in favor of a property owner in a negligence/premises liability case.  The plaintiff alleged that she fell in a hospital cafeteria due to the presence of spilled-food on the floor.  The plaintiff invoked the mode of operation doctrine, claiming that the cafeteria’s practice of allowing patrons to, after eating, carry their trays to a “drop-off” area created a reasonably foreseeable risk of spillage and that the cafeteria did not take reasonable steps to protect its patrons from this risk.  Jack contested the applicability of the mode of operation doctrine to this setting and further asserted that the contemporaneous descriptions of the slip-causing food (made after the accident) suggested that the material had only been present on the floor for a very brief period of time before the accident.  Despite the fact that fall location was a high-traffic area and the accident happened during a busy period of time at the cafeteria, the slip-causing material looked relatively pristine after the accident.  Additionally, Jack presented evidence of the redundant maintenance patrols, inspections and cleaning process that the cafeteria had in place.  Evidence was presented that an employee with maintenance responsibilities and with immediate access to cleaning supplies would pass through the accident locus searching for spills or maintenance issues not less than every five minutes.  Jack also presented evidence that compliance with these maintenance procedures was closely supervised by cafeteria managers.  The arbitrator determined that even assuming, arguendo, that the mode of operation doctrine was applicable, the cafeteria had proven that it had instituted reasonable safeguards to protect patrons to address any risk creating by the tray handling process and granted an award in the cafeteria’s favor.

Additional News & Notes

May 2017 - Murphy & Riley, P.C., is pleased to announce that Roger Soun has joined the firm.... [More]
Dec 2016 - The Supreme Judicial Court recently expanded the facts pursuant to which the “mode of operation”... [More]
Nov 2016 - Five Murphy & Riley attorneys named Super Lawyers. Super Lawyers, a rating service that publishes... [More]
Oct 2016 - Lisa White was recently a panelist, for the second year in a row, at the... [More]
Oct 2016 - Murphy & Riley, P.C., is pleased to announce that Amy B. Welch has joined the... [More]
Jul 2016 - Joe King was recently elected President of the Frank J. Murray Inn of Court, which... [More]
Jun 2016 - Susan Donnelly Murphy, along with Lisa Oliver White, recently obtained a jury verdict in favor... [More]
May 2016 - Murphy & Riley, P.C., is pleased to announce that Paul R. Kennedy has joined the... [More]
Apr 2016 - In a matter of first impression for Massachusetts, on March 7, 2016, the Supreme Judicial... [More]
Apr 2016 - Jack Coakley recently prevailed in defeating a Plaintiff physician’s appeal of a defense verdict to... [More]
Apr 2016 - April 2016 Jack Coakley secured the dismissal of a hostile work environment claim filed with... [More]
Feb 2016 - Robert J. Murphy and Kevin M. Sullivan recently obtained a dismissal on behalf of a... [More]
Feb 2016 - Jack Coakley and Melissa Arnold were recently awarded summary judgment on behalf of a Massachusetts... [More]
Sep 2015 - In a recent unpublished decision, the Massachusetts Appeals Court held that a legal malpractice claim... [More]
Jun 2015 - Lisa Oliver White received the Rising Star Award from the Massachusetts Defense Lawyers Association at... [More]