Appellate Cases

We don't just follow the law - sometimes we make it.

Throughout the history of the firm, SUGARMAN attorneys have been instrumental in helping to shape personal injury law in Massachusetts through verdicts and appellate decisions. These decisions have not only upheld jury verdicts that SUGARMAN has obtained on behalf of its clients, but some have also conferred new rights of recovery for injured parties and their families. The following is a sampling of the cases litigated by SUGARMAN lawyers which resulted in appellate decisions that impacted the formation of personal injury law in Massachusetts.

David v. Kelly, 100 Mass. App. Ct 443 (2021)

The Massachusetts Appeals Court upheld judgment after SUGARMAN attorneys obtained a jury verdict for their client who had suffered a dog bite while in the course of his employment as a letter carrier.

Knox vs. Schechtl Maschinenbau GmbH, et. al. 1:17-cv-11144-GAO (2019)

The First Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the U.S. District Court’s decision to dismiss product liability claims against a foreign manufacturer for lack of personal jurisdiction in Massachusetts. The First Circuit agreed with SUGARMAN’s attorneys that the individual fulfillment of each order, the language in the manufacturer manual inviting direct contact from consumers and the significant stream of sales into Massachusetts over a fifteen-year period were enough to establish personal jurisdiction under existing Supreme Court precedent. The case was remanded back to U.S. District Court in Boston for further proceedings.

Kirkwood-Boulter, et al. v. Massachusetts General Hospital, et al., 35 Mass. L. Rptr. 38 (2018)

The Massachusetts Appeals Court affirmed the trial court’s denial of a protective order requested by the defendant, Massachusetts General Hospital (“MGH”), in a medical malpractice case involving a labor and delivery at the hospital. MGH’s attorneys had sought to prevent SUGARMAN from questioning hospital witnesses as to whether or not the medical providers involved in the labor and delivery, including a travelling nurse supplied to MGH by a staffing company, had complied with MGH’s internal policies regarding fetal heart monitoring of the baby. The Appellate Court, however, agreed with SUGARMAN that such questions were permissible under the Massachusetts Rules of Civil Procedure. SUGARMAN’s attorneys eventually resolved the medical malpractice claims against the MGH providers before obtaining a $30.55 million jury verdict against the corporation that had supplied the travelling nurse to MGH.

Bowers v. P. Wile’s, Inc., 475 Mass. 34 (2016)

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial court affirmed the Appellate Court’s decision to reverse the trial court’s entry of summary judgment. SUGARMAN attorneys represented a woman who was caused to slip and fall on a stone that had been kicked loose from the defendant store’s self-service display area, a hazard that the store was well aware of for several years. The Supreme Judicial Court agreed with SUGARMAN’s attorneys that the “mode of operation” analysis applied to the facts of the case, vacated the judgment in favor of the defendant and remanded the case back to the Superior Court for further proceedings.

Aleo v. Toys “R” Us, Inc., 466 Mass. 398 (2013)

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court upheld a jury verdict of $20.6 million, including the jury’s award of punitive damages, in this landmark wrongful death case arising out of the defective design and manufacture of an inflatable pool slide.

Baudanza v. Comcast, 454 Mass. 622 (2009)

The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed judgment in favor of our client following a jury verdict and post-trial motions awarding increases to damages found by jury. The client sustained severe injuries when his vehicle was struck by a cable company van.

Nna, et al. v. American Standard, Inc., 630 F. Supp. 2d 115 (2009)

In an action brought by the widow and injured co-workers of a Massachusetts transportation company employee for a defectively designed warning device (train horn), SUGARMAN attorneys reached a settlement after the Court rejected the horn manufacturer’s claim that the horn was not defective and did not play a role in causing the accident.

Hooper v. Davis-Standard Corp, et al., 482 F. Supp 2d 157 (2007)

After SUGARMAN lawyers successfully resolved a product liability action in favor of a machine worker injured by a defective industrial machine (recovering a substantial settlement from the machine manufacturer), the worker’s employer tried to bring an action against the same manufacturer for its business loss. The machine manufacturer successfully defeated the claims of the employer.

Quincy Mutual Fire Ins. Co. v. Quisset Properties, Inc., 69 Mass. App. Ct. 147 (2007)

SUGARMAN attorneys represented a Massachusetts state trooper who was catastrophically injured when struck by a car registered to Quisset Properties and insured by Quincy Mutual. Quincy Mutual denied coverage for the state trooper’s injury claims on the basis that its insured (Quisset) failed to provide Quincy Mutual with necessary information about its business and, as a result, was in breach of the insurance contract. SUGARMAN attorneys intervened on behalf of Quisset and successfully argued on appeal that the insurance policy applied. As a result, SUGARMAN was able to obtain a sizable settlement, paid by two insurers including Quincy Mutual, for the state trooper.

Hughes v. Tenet Metrowest Healthcare, et al., 2006-J-0579

The Massachusetts Appeals Court allowed the issuance of a significant pre-trial attachment against the assets of a for-profit hospital in a medical malpractice case involving the death of a 35-year-old mother of two children. Although the hospital had claimed that it did not have assets to satisfy a judgment, SUGARMAN’s attorneys were able to identify a significant and previously undisclosed corporate account through painstaking work and forensic accounting. The case settled soon after the decision.

Morgan v. Lab. Corp. of Am., 65 Mass. App. Ct. 816 (2006)

Jury verdict against medical laboratory for negligently reporting test results leading to a patient’s permanent nerve damage. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court rejected the medical laboratory’s appeal and affirmed the jury’s verdict won by SUGARMAN.

Christopher v. Father’s Huddle Cafe, Inc., et al., 57 Mass. App. Ct. 217 (2003)

After SUGARMAN obtained a historic jury verdict of $28M in this case involving the wrongful death of a 23 year-old male, the Massachusetts Appeals Court upheld the verdict against the defendant bar for its failure to provide adequate security measures.

Courtemanche v. AT&T Co., 47 Mass. App. Ct. 1110 (1999)

The dismissal of the plaintiff’s case by the trial court was reversed, and a new trial was ordered. In the Appellate Court, SUGARMAN lawyers successfully argued that the plaintiff had shown sufficient evidence, and that a jury could reasonably infer that the accident was caused by the defendant’s negligence.

Haidak v. Collagen Corp., 67 F. Supp.2d 21 (D. Mass. 1999)

Product liability claim as a result of bovine collagen injections were not pre-empted by Federal pre-market approval process and resulted in injuries.

Assetta, et al. v. Safety Ins. Co., 43 Mass. App. Ct. 317 (1997)

SUGARMAN lawyers won an arbitration award for a woman after she was struck in the face and injured by a bottle thrown out of a moving vehicle, by that vehicle’s operator. The arbitration occurred after a successful appeal by SUGARMAN lawyers. The Appeals Court held that the incident did arise out of the use of a motor vehicle and, as a result, the plaintiff was entitled to underinsured motorist benefits under the Massachusetts Auto Policy.

Gaeta v. National Fire Ins. Co., 410 Mass. 592 (1991)

Pursuant to a court-approved settlement under G. L. c. 152, §15, the Massachusetts Insurers Insolvency Fund cannot avoid its obligation of reimbursing any monies paid by a worker’s compensation insurance company.

Tryon v. City of Lowell, 29 Mass. App. Ct. 720 (1991)

The Superior Court’s judgment for the defendant was overturned because the extent of the duty owed by the City to an injured child was a question of fact for the jury to determine, and the defendant could not avoid liability under the discretionary function exemption of the Massachusetts Tort Claims Act (G. L. c. 258, §10(b)). At trial, the jury awarded the plaintiffs damages for injuries to a child trespasser after his arm was run over by a train as he walked along railroad tracks on his way to school.

Leibovich v. Antonellis, 410 Mass. 568 (1991)

Upheld a jury verdict won by SUGARMAN lawyers for a case in which a teenaged son was injured in a car crash. This allowed the parents to recover damages for their own injuries, as well as those of their son.

Bois v. United States, 747 F. Supp. 109 (D. Mass. 1990)

A judgment won by SUGARMAN attorneys against the United States was upheld in a case of medical malpractice, in which the physician failed to diagnose throat cancer.

Sabel v. Meade Johnson & Co., 737 F.Supp. 135 (D. Mass. 1990)

The United States District Court decided in favor of injured patient who suffered severe complications from a drug manufactured by defendant drug company and allowed evidence at trial of post-injury warnings ordered by FDA. The case settled before the jury began deliberations.

Frutin v. Dryvit Systems, Inc., 760 F. Supp 234 (D. Mass. 1990)

The Court ruled that the United States can be held liable under the Federal Tort Claims Act for failure to issue a traffic advisory. The trial that followed resulted in a jury award to SUGARMAN’s client for a below-the-knee amputation suffered by a student pilot in a mid-air collision.

Maillet v. ATF-Davidson Co., 407 Mass. 185 (1990)

A jury verdict found for a worker whose hand was injured in a press in a product liability/defective product lawsuit. Upheld on appeal, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court found that the negligence and breach of warranty by a product manufacturer was a violation of the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Statute (G. L. 93A, §9(4)).

Colter v. Barber-Greene Co., 403 Mass. 50 (1988)

A jury verdict in favor of a worker injured by a defective machine was affirmed on appeal to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. Even though the jury found that the worker’s use of the machine was unreasonable, it also found that the manufacturer of the machine was negligent in its design.

Karlin v. Massachusetts Turnpike Auth., 399 Mass. 765 (1987)

SUGARMAN lawyers won appeal, which established that the Turnpike Authority was not immune from a suit in which it caused a quadriplegic injury, and that the amount of recovery was not limited by statute.

Downs v. Gulf & Western Mfg. Co., 677 F. Supp. 661 (D. Mass. 1987)

A new trial was granted, allowing SUGARMAN lawyers to present the plaintiff’s claims of negligence and breach of implied warranty of merchantability against the defendant.