Successfully Pursuing an Out-of-State Entity as Part of Your Massachusetts Premises Liability Case
Slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall accidents are relatively common, but they also can potentially be very serious situations that cause long-lasting or even lifelong impacts upon the people hurt in them. When this harm is a result of the inappropriate action or inaction of others, the injured person may be entitled to a monetary recovery in court. If you’ve been harmed in a slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall accident, there are many things that you should do right away. At the top of your list should be retaining an experienced Massachusetts premises liability attorney to represent you in your case.
Frances was someone who found herself in a slip-and-fall case. She was walking on the property of a senior living facility in Norwood when she fell, allegedly suffering injuries as a result of that fall. When you are hurt in a trip-and-fall or slip-and-fall accident, there are several things you can do immediately to help yourself. For example, if you have ready access to a camera, you can take pictures of the area where you fell to preserve an image of the area as it existed at the time of your accident. You can also request a copy of any incident reports the property owner or manager has written up.
Of course, as discussed above, one of the important things you should do is retain skilled injury counsel. Whether you need to collect and present the factual evidence of your case or make legal and procedural arguments before a judge, all of these things can be enhanced by having knowledgeable counsel. In Frances’ case, the latter half of this list (legal/procedural issues) took center stage. The ownership structure of the senior facility involved several layers of business entities, including corporations and LLCs.
When you discover that there are several people or entities that have authority over the property where you were hurt, there may be multiple options for obtaining your injury recovery. You may be able to sue multiple parties. Making sure that you’ve named all of the correct defendants can be a vital part of your eventual success.
Frances decided to name all of these corporations and LLCs in her federal court lawsuit. One of the LLCs argued that the case against it should be dismissed. The LLC’s argument had nothing to do with the facts; the LLC argued that it did not have the level of connection with Massachusetts required by the law in order for it to be sued in a court here. (This is something called “personal jurisdiction.”) Unlike the other entities that Frances sued, this LLC was not registered to do business in Massachusetts. It was a Delaware LLC with its principal place of business located in Virginia.
Sometimes, if you present a strong enough argument, even if you don’t already have sufficient evidence of jurisdiction, the federal courts will allow you to engage in some discovery in order to obtain additional proof that the court has personal jurisdiction over the defendant. In Frances’ situation, the federal District Court judge concluded that she had enough in her documents to establish that she was entitled to do this discovery. This meant that the LLC was not entitled to a dismissal, and Frances was entitled to go forward with her case.
If you’ve been hurt in a slip-and-fall or a trip-and-fall accident, you need to make sure you have effective representation on your side. Contact skilled Plymouth County premises liability lawyer Michael S. Mehrmann. Our team is proud to assist and represent injured people from across Plymouth County, including Kingston, Plymouth, Marshfield, Hanson, Carver, Pembroke, and Duxbury. To find out more about how we can help you, call (781) 585-3911 or contact us online.