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Premises Liability – Hazardous Premises – Plaintiff falls over a short railing 16 feet to the ground while attending a wedding at the premises – Multiple fractures to spine – Incomplete quadriplegia – Bowel and bladder incontinence.

U.S.D.C. - District of Massachusetts

In this premises liability matter, the plaintiff alleged that the defendant leasing agent and the historical site were negligent in failing to protect and warn the plaintiff and others of the dangerously low railing. The plaintiff fell over the railing, falling 16 feet to the ground. The plaintiff sustained multiple spinal fractures that resulted in incomplete quadriplegia. The defendants denied liability and maintained that they did not owe a duty of care to the plaintiff, who was intoxicated at the time and caused his own injuries.

The male plaintiff was a wedding guest at the defendant historical site, which was rented for weddings through the defendant leasing agent. While attending the festivities and drinking, the plaintiff fell over a portico railing, fell 16 feet and landed on the ground, severely fracturing his spine in several places. As a result of the incident, the plaintiff was rendered an incomplete quadriplegic and has residual sequelae of neurogenic bladder and bowel, as well as incontinence.

The plaintiff brought suit against the defendant leasing agent and the defendant owner of the historical site, alleging that they were negligent in failing to warn guests as to the low and dangerous nature of the railing and in failing to have the railing comply with building codes and regulations. The defendants denied the allegations. The defendants argued that as a historical site, the building does not need to conform to building codes and regulations and that further, the leasing agent and the owner of the property did not have any duty of care to the plaintiff who was a guest of the bride and groom. The defendants further argued that the plaintiff was admittedly intoxicated at the time of the incident and his intoxication was the sole cause of his injuries and damages. The plaintiff, who admitted that he was intoxicated, disputed the contention that he was responsible for his own injuries.The matter proceeded to trial. At the conclusion of the trial, the jury returned its verdict in favor of the defendant leasing company and against the plaintiff. The defendant owners were dismissed by the court prior to trial. The plaintiff appealed that decision, which is pending.

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