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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.

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It takes a full commitment to the client and the legal issue at hand to pursue cases through the appellate process, which can take several years and countless hours. We are proud of our groundbreaking work and the help it has brought to both our clients and other injured people.​

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These are just some of the cases litigated by SUGARMAN lawyers which resulted in appellate decisions that impacted the formation of personal injury law in Massachusetts:


Showing 36 results

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

Tags: Premises Liability - Injuries on Property

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. SUGARMAN's lawyers eventually resolved the premises liability claim through a settlement for their client.

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

Tags: Defective Products, Wrongful Death Claims

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)

Tags: Car, Motor Vehicle and Motorcycle Accidents

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court affirmed judgment in favor of SUGARMAN's client following a jury verdict and post-trial motions by SUGARMAN that led the trial judge to award a substantial increase to damages found by jury. In this car accident lawsuit, the client sustained severe injuries when his vehicle was struck by a cable company truck.

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

Tags: Defective Products and Consumer Goods

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 on behalf of their clients when the court denied the defendant horn manufacturer's motion for Summary Judgment. The manufacturer tried to argue, unsuccessfully, 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)

Tags: Defective Products and Consumer Goods

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)

Tags: Car, Motor Vehicle and Motorcycle Accidents

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.

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

Tags: Medical Malpractice

A jury verdict against a medical laboratory in a medical malpractice lawsuit was reached where the lab negligently reported its 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.

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

Tags: Medical Malpractice, Wrongful Death Claims

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.

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

Tags: Premises Liability - Injuries on Property, Wrongful Death Claims

The verdict in this lawsuit against a bar, which included punitive damages against the bar and its management company for failure to provide adequate security, was upheld on appeal. The verdict was reached after a patron died off the premises of the bar, as a result of the inadequate security measures.

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

Tags: Premises Liability - Injuries on Property

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)

Tags: Defective Products, Defective Products and Consumer Goods

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)

Tags: Car, Motor Vehicle and Motorcycle Accidents

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)

Tags: Wrongful Death Claims

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.

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

Tags: Car, Motor Vehicle and Motorcycle Accidents

The Supreme Judicial Court upheld a jury verdict won by SUGARMAN lawyers for a teenager who was injured in a car crash. The case established that the teenager's parents could also recover damages for their injuries that resulted from their son's physical injury.

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

Tags: Premises Liability - Injuries on Property

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.

Morris v. Massachusetts Maritime Academy, 409 Mass. 179 (1991)

Tags: Airplane, Boating and Railroad

The defendant's motion to dismiss was properly denied after the defendants waived immunity under the Jones Act, 46 U.S.C. §688 (1982 & Supp. III 1985), and under general admiralty law for liability up to $100,000 pursuant to the Massachusetts Tort Claims Act, G. L. c. 258, §2.

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

Tags: Medical Malpractice

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.

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

Tags: Airplane, Boating and Railroad

In a case involving a mid-air collision, the United States' Motion for Summary Judgment was denied because 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 caused by a negligent air traffic controller and another pilot.

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

Tags: Defective Products and Consumer Goods

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)).

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

Tags: Defective Products and Consumer Goods

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.

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

Tags: Defective Products

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)

Tags: Premises Liability - Injuries on Property

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)

Tags: Defective Products and Consumer Goods

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.

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

Tags: Medical Malpractice

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)

Tags: Construction Site Injuries

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.

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

Tags: Construction Site Injuries

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

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

Tags: Airplane, Boating and Railroad Crashes

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.

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

Tags: Defective Products and Consumer Goods

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)

Tags: Defective Products and Consumer Goods

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)

Tags: Medical Malpractice

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)

Tags: Defective Products, Car, Motor Vehicle and Motorcycle Accidents

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. The Supreme Judicial Court decided that the experiment performed by SUGARMAN lawyers to prove the faulty design could be used against General Motors.

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

Tags: Car, Motor Vehicle and Motorcycle Accidents, Defective Products

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.

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

Tags: Professional Malpractice

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

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

Tags: Car, Motor Vehicle and Motorcycle Accidents

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)

Tags: Defective Products

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)

Tags: Defective Products and Consumer Goods

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.