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.

Smith v. Steinberg, 395 Mass. 666 (1985)

Allowed suit against doctor employed at University of Massachusetts, even though employees of the Commonwealth are generally immune from suit.

Lang v. Edward J. Lamothe Co., 20 Mass. App. Ct. 231 (1985)

The defendant did not pay workers’ compensation benefits to the plaintiff, and as a result, did not receive the benefit of the workers’ compensation exemption of employers from tort liability.

Mirageas v. Massachusetts Bay Transp. Auth., 391 Mass. 815 (1984)

After a 13-year-old was run over by an MBTA trolley, the teenager’s foot was amputated. The jury verdict was affirmed on appeal, with the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court holding that the defendant waived its defense under G. L. c. 161A, §21, and that the damages awarded were not excessive.

Hemric v. Reed & Prince Mfg. Co., 575 F. Supp. 254 (D. Mass. 1983), aff’d, 739 F.2d 1 (1st Cir. 1984)

The statue of limitations is a matter of procedure governed by the law of the forum state.

Zeller v. American Safety Razor Corp., 15 Mass. App. Ct. 919 (1983)

A patient was injured when surgical blade broke in her back during spinal surgery. Verdict for SUGARMAN’s client was upheld when the defendants expressly waived their objections to the admission of evidence by failing to properly preserve their argument under Mass.R.Civ.P. 50(a).

Diaz v. Eli Lilly & Co., 364 Mass. 153 (1973) and 14 Mass. App. Ct. 448 (1982)

In this landmark product liability/pharmaceutical case, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court agreed with the arguments advanced by SUGARMAN attorneys and decided, for the first time, that a husband or wife has a claim for damages (loss of consortium) when their spouse is injured by negligence or wrongdoing.

Franklin v. Albert, 381 Mass. 611 (1980)

A cause of action does not accrue in medical malpractice cases under G.L. c. 260, §4 until the plaintiff knows, or reasonably should have known, of the harm from the defendant’s conduct. This decision allowed SUGARMAN lawyers to bring a claim on behalf of our client.

Griffin v. General Motors Corp., 380 Mass. 362 (1980)

Jury verdict against General Motors affirmed on appeal, in a case where an improperly designed car allowed fumes from the engine to enter the passenger compartment, explode, and severely burn the driver.

McStowe v. Bornstein, 377 Mass. 804 (1979)

Established precedent allowing legal malpractice suits to continue after the death of the defendant’s attorney.

Carey v. General Motors Corp., 37 Mass. 736 (1979)

Following an automobile accident, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court rejected General Motors’ appeal from a jury verdict that awarded damages to the two occupants injured by the faulty design of the car in which they were riding. SUGARMAN lawyers successfully argued that there were three defects in the car, each of which would be sufficient to cause the crash on its own.

Royal Indem. Co. v. Blakely, 372 Mass. 86 (1977)

G. L. c. 175, §113L, which requires every automobile to have coverage for injuries caused by uninsured autos, does not entitle a family to stack its uninsured coverage and obtain additional protection or compensation from vehicles other than the one that was involved in the accident.

doCanto v. Ametek, Inc., 367 Mass. 776 (1975)

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court upheld a jury verdict to a SUGARMAN client for injuries caused by a defectively designed laundry machine. The case established precedent allowing into evidence safety changes made after the manufacture of the defective machine.

Mark v. Obear & Sons, Inc., 313 F. Supp. 373 (D. Mass. 1970)

Under the long-arm statute, the court had jurisdiction over the defendant, a California corporation, which manufactured and sold its products in Massachusetts, where the plaintiff resided. The decision allowed SUGARMAN lawyers to bring a claim in Massachusetts on behalf of our client.