Articles Posted in Personal Injury

by
Defendant Hector LeClair, plaintiff Joseph LeClair’s grandfather, was experienced in construction and has developed several properties around the Vermont. In 2011, defendant approached his son, Ricky LeClair, who also worked in construction, about replacing the roof on the building in which defendant had his office. Defendant’s son, Ricky, then approached his twenty-seven-year-old son, plaintiff, about working on defendant’s roofing project. Plaintiff had also worked in construction and was an experienced roofer, but was unemployed at the time. Plaintiff’s father told him he would make “good money” for working on defendant’s roof. Plaintiff’s father supplied the tools, equipment, and materials for the roof job. On October 7, 2011, plaintiff arrived at the property with another person to work on the roof. They had already removed the shingles from the roof, leaving only the underlayment, which on that October morning was covered with dew and early frost. Plaintiff claimed that he initially decided not to work on the roof because the frost made it slippery but changed his mind when defendant arrived at the property and ordered him to begin work. Plaintiff climbed a ladder onto the property’s roof; plaintiff fell from the second-story roof and landed on the paved driveway below, sustaining serious and permanent head and spinal injuries. Plaintiff sued defendant for his injuries, and appealed when the trial court granted defendant summary judgment. Plaintiff argued the trial court erred by concluding that defendant owed him no duty and that the court abused its discretion by denying his motion to amend his complaint to add a new liability theory. Given the circumstances of this case, the Vermont Supreme Court agreed that the trial court erred in concluding, as a matter of law on summary judgment, that defendant owed no duty to plaintiff. View "LeClair v. LeClair" on Justia Law

by
Plaintiff in this wrongful-death action appealed a trial court judgment dismissing her complaint as untimely. Plaintiff contended the trial court erred in: (1) denying her motion to amend the complaint to include a certificate of merit; (2) declining to treat the motion to amend as a petition to extend the statute of limitations; and (3) dismissing a claim for personal injuries incurred during the decedent’s lifetime. Finding no reversible error, the Supreme Court affirmed. View "McClellan v. Haddock" on Justia Law

by
Plaintiff Sandra J. Murphy (as personal representative and administrator of the Estate of Christopher Murphy) appealed a superior court decision that vacated a jury verdict in her favor and entered judgment as a matter of law for defendant Sentry Insurance. The decedent died after a forklift he was operating for his employer, Pete's RV Center, tipped over. At the time of the accident, the decedent was operating a forklift equipped with an unapproved towing attachment, and using the forklift to tow a fifth-wheel camper. In its capacity as Pete's general liability insurer, Sentry had performed a safety survey at Pete's in April 2002. Plaintiff sued Sentry, alleging in relevant part that Sentry was negligent in performing the safety survey because it failed to identify and warn of the dangers of using forklifts with unapproved towing attachments. Plaintiff contended on appeal that there was sufficient evidence to establish Sentry's liability for her husband's workplace death under the Restatement (Second) of Torts section 324A based on a negligent inspection theory. Plaintiff also argued that the court erred in awarding costs to Sentry. Upon review, the Supreme Court concluded that, assuming the risk of physical harm associated with the use of unapproved forklift attachments was present at the time of Sentry's inspection, nothing Sentry did increased the risk of physical harm to decedent from such attachments. The Court therefore agreed with the trial court that Sentry's liability could not be premised on section 324A(a). The Court found plaintiff's arguments with regard to whether the jury reasonably could conclude that through its inspection, Sentry assumed a portion of Pete's duty to provide a safe workplace to its employees, as unpersuasive. The Court affirmed the superior court's decision.View "Murphy v. Sentry Insurance" on Justia Law

by
Plaintiff Nicholas Bonnano appealed the superior court’s grant of summary judgment against him and in favor of his employer, Verizon, and Verizon’s third-party claims administrator, Sedgwick Claims Management. Plaintiff’s claims stemmed from an alleged breach of a settlement agreement with employer regarding his workers’ compensation claim. On appeal, plaintiff argued that the trial court erred because there was a dispute of material fact as to the voluntariness of employer’s temporary total disability (TTD) payments made to plaintiff after the TTD termination date indicated in the settlement. Finding no reversible error, the Supreme Court affirmed the superior court in all respects. View "Bonanno v. Verizon Business Network Systems" on Justia Law