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We routinely argue dispositive matters before both the State and Federal courts in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Below is a summary of our significant cases. Please feel free to request a copy of the decision from us.
ATAIN SPECIALTY INSURANCE CO., v. DAVESTER LLC, et. al.
In this insurance coverage dispute, Lecomte, Emanuelson & Doyle represented Atain Specialty Insurance Company, the liability carrier for Davester LLC, a Hyannis bar. This case involved a unique set of facts: the bar determined that a patron was too intoxicated to safely walk home and called a cab to take him home. The cab driver dropped off the patron on the side of the road when subsequently, he was struck by another vehicle and suffered significant personal injury. Atain determined that coverage was excluded due to the automobile exclusion which precluded coverage for any injury arising out of or in connection with any auto. Atain, while defending the underlying state claim under a reservation of rights, filed action for Declaratory Judgment in the United States Court for the District of Massachusetts, seeking a declaration that it was not obligated to defend or indemnify its insured.
Initially, the Defendants sought to stay the federal declaratory judgment action, arguing that the state action was parallel and involved the same factual issues. The district court, however, rejected this claim, finding that the duty to defend could be resolved without adjudication of the state issues in the underlying action. Atain Specialty Insurance Co. v. Davester LLC, et. al., 2019 WL 5087338 (D. Mass. 2019). Subsequently, on the coverage issue, the court ruled in the insurer’s favor and enforced the exclusion holding that the car was the source of the claimed injuries and the damages were connected to a car.
PREFERRED MUTUAL INSURANCE CO., v. LOWES COMPANIES, INC.
In this subrogation action filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York, Lecomte, Emanuelson & Doyle represented Preferred Mutual Insurance Company seeking damages in excess of $1,000,000 for a house fire caused by a faulty dehumidifier sold by the defendant, Lowes. As with all our subrogation cases, Lecomte, Emanuelson & Doyle immediately placed potentially responsible parties on notice, coordinated and attended the site inspection and subsequent lab examination, presented the claim for resolution and quickly filed suit when unable to resolve the case. Following a detailed presentation of the claim and theory of liability, Lecomte, Emanuelson & Doyle settled the claim for a substantial amount nine months after filing suit.
PREFERRED MUTUAL INSURANCE CO. v. BARROS COMPANY, INC.
In this highly contested subrogation action, Lecomte, Emanuelson & Doyle was able to establish a prima facie case, through multiple experts, that a block of ice slid off the insured home and struck a propane line serving a generator, causing gas to leak, which in turn resulted in a catastrophic explosion. Lecomte, Emanuelson & Doyle asserted that the Defendants, a propane installer and generator manufacturer, failed to properly locate and/or protect the propane line and such failure caused the explosion. The Defendants moved for summary judgment and sought to exclude the Plaintiff’s experts. The court, however, denied the Defendants’ motion, ruling that there was sufficient factual support, albeit circumstantial, to support the theory of the loss. Following this ruling and mediation, Lecomte, Emanuelson & Doyle resolved the case.
JANE DOE V. BOSTON MEDICAL CENTER, 88 Mass. App. Ct. 289 (2015)
Recognized as one of the most important opinions of 2015, this case established that a health care provider had a duty to exercise reasonable care to protect patients from foreseeable harm, including sexual assault, caused by its employees. In this case, Lecomte, Emanuelson & Doyle represented the Plaintiff who was sexually assaulted by an interpreter at the Boston Medical Center while she was admitted to the hospital for the delivery of her child. Following the Appeals Court’s reversal of the Superior Court’s decision entering summary judgment in the defendant hospital’s behalf, Lecomte Emanuelson & Doyle was able to successfully resolve the case.
THE SHANTIGAR FOUNDATION V. BEAR MOUNTAIN BUILDERS, 441 Mass 131 (2004)
In this matter of first impressions, Lecomte Emanuelson & Doyle successfully established that in a negligence case, the jury is only to consider the negligence of the parties at trial in allocating comparative negligence. Here, Lecomte Emanuelson & Doyle successfully defended Bear Mountain Builders at a negligence trial as the jury returned a verdict finding the Plaintiff 60% at fault for the fire loss, thus precluding recovery against the defendant. The Plaintiff appealed and successfully sought direct appellate review of the issue as to whether the Superior Court erred in refusing to include parties who had previously settled the case on the jury verdict slip for purposes of assessing comparative negligence. The Supreme Judicial Court, following a review of the Massachusetts comparative negligence statute, confirmed that only the parties at trial, and not settling defendants, were to be included on the verdict slip for purposes of assessing comparative negligence.
GRAY V. GIROUX, 49 Mass. App. Ct. 436 (2000)
In another matter of first impression, this case established the duty of care a golfer owes other golfers on the golf course. Here, the defendant hit an errant shot which struck the plaintiff in the face. The plaintiff sued for personal injury and the defendant prevailed on a motion for summary judgment, arguing that in order to establish liability, the plaintiff had to establish the defendant acted with willful, wanton or reckless conduct. The Appeals Court confirmed this ruling, holding that the willful, wanton and reckless standard of conduct applies to all sporting activities, including golf.