This case is particularly interesting from a Boston attorney’s perspective because the case addresses an often difficult issue regarding suing a public entity in the state of Massachusetts. Massachusetts public entities often cannot be sued because of the Massachusetts Tort Claim Act (MTCA), which provides immunity from lawsuits if the actor of the public entity was acting in their official capacity at time that the latter alleged tortuous conduct occurred.
So while the town of Reading argued that it was immune from suit under G.L.c. 258, §10(j) of the MTCA, otherwise known as the statutory public duty rule, the Court disagreed. The correct stated that the proper inquiry under §10(j) is whether a public employer’s act “materially contributed” to the condition that resulted in the harm. To this, the judges said. “A little girl was pushed from behind and seriously injured,” and “The causal link between that act and [the plaintiff’s] injury in this case is not so remote that as a matter of law we can say the principal’s decision [to hold recess on the black-top area] is not an ‘original cause’ of the injury within the meaning of the statute.”
The case cited above is: Nicola Gennari(1) v. Reading Public Schools, docket number 09-P-644, Middlesex Superior Court.