In June of 2017 Attorneys Owen McGowan and Jacob Lavin prevailed in a five-day trial in the defense of homeowners who were sued following a roofer’s fall from a front porch overhang. By way of relevant history, on Nov. 10, 2014, the 40-year old Plaintiff was working as a subcontractor on the porch outside of the Defendants building in Revere, Massachusetts. When The Plaintiff stood up on the roof, nails allegedly withdrew, causing the roof to detach from the sidewall of the dwelling and collapse, resulting in his fall to the front steps below.
The Plaintiff alleged injuries to his neck and back, and sued the Defendant owners of the dwelling as well as the roofing contractor for negligence. The roofer conceded liability due to a lack of appropriate fall protection, and settled with the Plaintiff before the trial.
The trial proceeded against the owners only. The Plaintiff alleged that the owners had hired the roofer to replace the roof, including over the porch. The Plaintiff alleged that the owners were the project’s general contractor and supervisor, and had failed to properly maintain the roof in a reasonably safe condition and also failed to properly supervise the construction and negligent installation of the porch roof decades before. The Plaintiff argued that the porch roof collapsed when he stood on it to make some routine repairs.
The defense did not actively dispute the Plaintiff’s claimed damages, and instead focused on the question of liability for the claimed damages. The owners argued that they could not be liable for the alleged negligent construction and installation of the property’s porch roof, which occurred several decades before. The owners also argued that they could not be held liable for any role they may have played as contractor or supervisor of the work on the porch roof.
Deliberating for only two hours, the jury found in favor of the owners and a defense verdict was entered. On October 1, 2018, Jacob Lavin argued before the Appeals Court, on issues raised by the plaintiff as to the propriety of jury instructions given by the Superior Court.
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