James Dunphy Obtains Defense Verdict for Commercial Landlord in Elevator Shaft Fall
November 22, 2016

Bonner Kiernan attorney James Dunphy obtained a defense verdict after a five day jury trial in Suffolk Superior Court, Massachusetts. The Plaintiff, the co-owner of an auto body shop, fell approximately 15 feet, when he walked into an unguarded shaft to the vertical reciprocating conveyor, which is similar to a freight elevator, at his auto body shop.  At trial, there was strong evidence of the Plaintiff’s comparative negligence, including testimony from the Plaintiff’s former business partner that he and the Plaintiff disabled the safety mechanism that prohibited the second floor garage door from opening, when the lift was on the first floor, and the Plaintiff walked through the shop in the dark.  In addition, at the accident scene, the Plaintiff admitted that the accident was his fault, and he forgot that he left the second floor door open.  The Plaintiff suffered a fractured right pelvis (which was surgically repaired and a comminuted fractured sacrum.  The jury decided that the Plaintiff’s comparative negligence was 51%, thereby barring him from any recovery.