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Supreme Judicial Court Upholds $4.4 Million Wrongful Death Award for Family of Yarmouth Man Fatally Injured in Gillette Stadium-Massachusetts Bus Accident

The Supreme Judicial Court has upheld the Massachusetts wrongful death award that a jury gave to the family of a Yarmouth man who died after the bus he was riding was hit by a large security gate arm. The tragic Foxborough, Massachusetts premises liability accident happened in 2003 as the bus was driving through an empty parking lot.

As wind struck a 300-pound metal parking gate that should have been secured, the gate swung open, crashing through the windshield and causing an 8-inch double shafted pole to strike 64-year-old Thomas Kelly. Five other people were injured in the tragic accident. One woman who was injured had to have one of her legs amputated below the knee.

Kelly broke his right leg and mangled his left leg in the accident. After undergoing multiple surgeries, he died several weeks later.

Kelly’s family sued Standard Parking, Apollo Security, and Foxboro Reality Associates for his wrongful death. In 2007, a Massachusetts jury held the defendants responsible for the unsecured gate and awarded Kelly’s widow $1.82 million and each of his two sons $1.4 million. With interest, medical expenses, and other costs, the family was awarded a little over $6 million.

Massachusetts’s highest court upheld the award even though the judge violated an order to prohibit jurors from talking about the case together before deliberation. The SJC determined that the error did not prejudice the plaintiffs.

Massachusetts Premises Liability Cases
Property owners and managers must make sure that there are no dangerous conditions on a Massachusetts premise that can lead to injuries, illness, or death. Failure to fulfill this duty of care could be grounds for a Boston, premises liability claim or a wrongful death lawsuit.

Mass. Court upholds $4.4M award in bus accident, Boston Herald, July 16, 2009
$6.1m awarded in stadium fatality, Boston.com, December 20, 2007

Related Web Resources:
Gillette Stadium

Premises Liability Overview, Justia