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Massachusetts Homeowner Liable for Softball Game Injury

The Boston Red Sox are safe, but Massachusetts homeowners should beware. The Massachusetts Appeals Court recently found a Massachusetts homeowner liable when a houseguest was injured on their property after being struck by a ball from a softball game being played in their yard. The personal injury attorneys at the Law Office of Neil Burns want Boston area residents to practice safe habits as the warm weather retreats, and realize that serious personal injuries can occur in homes, cars, and other areas where we tend to feel safe and perhaps let our guard down.

In this case, a houseguest was siting on a porch talking with the homeowners. Unfortunately, she was hit by a softball from a game being played in the homeowner’s small yard and suffered a serious head injury. The guest sued for damages but the trial court said that, as a matter of law, the homeowner did not owe the guest a duty. But the Appeals Court noted that, in moving for summary judgment, the defendant must prove that there “is no genuine issue of material fact.” The issue became was the danger “open and obvious” to the plaintiff or was there a “duty to warn” the plaintiff of the danger. The Appeals Court said that a jury would need to decide if the homeowner “owed the plaintiff a duty of care” by stopping the game or warning the guests.

The 13-page decision is Judge, et al. v. Carrai, et al., No. 09-P-1576, Appeal Court. September 24, 2010.

The Court also found that the adult organizer of the game could also be found negligent in not recognizing the risk to those seated close by. Thus, the majority also ruled that summary judgment should not have been awarded to co-defendant Anthony Kuczinski, who offered up the pitch that resulted in the injury. “In short, a rational finder of fact could conclude that Kuczinski’s activity in organizing and participating in the activity of pitching and hitting a softball with a metal bat in close proximity to the porch on which persons were seated was negligent,” Green concluded.
The 13-page decision is Judge, et al. v. Carrai, et al., No. 09-P-1576, Appeal Court. September 24, 2010.