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Middlesex County, MA

In this negligence action, the plaintiff alleged that the defendant condominium was negligent in failing to properly prepare the complex’s water boiler for repair work by draining and shutting down the system. As a result, when the plaintiff arrived and began to work on the boiler it exploded causing him to sustain first, second and third degrees burns over the majority of his body. The defendant denied liability and maintained that the plaintiff’s own negligence caused his injuries and damages.

The male plaintiff worked for a boiler repair company and was hired to repair a leaking gasket on the defendant condominium’s ________ gallon water boiler unit. The defendant was instructed by the plaintiff’s employer to have the boiler ready to be worked on when the plaintiff arrived, namely to have the system drained and the unit shut off. When the plaintiff arrived, the pressure gauge, the water gauge and the temperature gauge indicated that the unit was safe to be worked on. The plaintiff and his co-worker began to cut the bolts in order to replace the leaking gasket when the plaintiff heard a whistle followed by an explosion of steam and hot water from the unit.

The plaintiff was thrown against the wall by the force of the water and steam. He sustained first, second and third degrees burns to the majority of his body as a result of the incident. The plaintiff contended that the defendant’s failure to properly maintain the boiler resulted in the gauges giving inaccurate readings which caused the plaintiff to believe that it was safe to work on the boiler when that was not the case. In addition, the plaintiff contended that the defendant’s representatives confirmed that the boiler was ready to be worked upon when the plaintiff arrived on the day of the incident.

The plaintiff brought suit against the defendant alleging that the defendant failed to properly maintain the water boiler, failed to warn the plaintiff that the boiler was not shut down as had been instructed prior to the plaintiff’s arrival and that the defendant had failed to properly maintain and service the boiler resulting in the gauges working inaccurately. The plaintiff’s spouse and son brought a loss of consortium claim.

The defendant denied the allegations. The defendant denied that it made any representations to the plaintiff on the morning of his arrival regarding the boiler and maintained that the plaintiff was negligent in failing to check that the boiler was safe to work on before starting to dissemble it in order to replace the leaking gasket. The defendants also disputed the nature and extent of the plaintiff’s alleged injuries and damages.The matter was tried. At the conclusion of the trial, the jury deliberated and returned its verdict in favor of the plaintiff and against the defendant. The jury assessed liability at 10% to the plaintiff and 90% to the defendant. The jury awarded a total of $________ consisting of $________ to the plaintiff, $________ to the plaintiff’s wife on her consortium claim and $________ to the plaintiff’s son on his consortium claim.

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