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Landry v. Massachusetts Port Authority

Appeals Court of Massachusetts, Hampden

April 12, 2016

Donald R. Landry
v.
Massachusetts Port Authority & another. [1]

         Argued November 12, 2015.

          Civil action commenced in the Superior Court Department on June 25, 2012.

         The case was heard by C. Jeffrey Kinder, J., on motions for summary judgment.

          Tara E. Lynch for the defendants.

          Enrico M. De Maio for the plaintiff.

         Present: Cohen, Grainger, & Wolohojian, JJ.

          OPINION

         Cohen, J.

         The plaintiff, Donald R. Landry, brought this negligence action pursuant to the Massachusetts Tort Claims Act, G. L. c. 258, seeking damages from the defendants, the Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) and the city of Worcester (city), for injuries he sustained at the Worcester Regional Airport (airport) when a motorized sliding gate pinned him to a metal bar

Page 308

protruding from the gate post. The defendants jointly moved for summary judgment, claiming that Landry was injured by reason of a defect in a way and, hence, his exclusive remedy was an action under G. L. c. 84, § § 15, 18, and 19.[2] See Botello v. Massachusetts Port Authy., 47 Mass.App.Ct. 788, 789, 716 N.E.2d 664 & n.3 (1999). Because it was undisputed that Landry had not given notice within thirty days of his injury, as required by c. 84, § 18,[3] the defendants argued that they were entitled to judgment as matter of law. The city also argued that it was entitled to summary judgment for the independent reason that it was not responsible for " the way at issue."

         A judge of the Superior Court denied summary judgment, concluding that the defendants had failed to establish that the site of the accident was a " way," [4] and that there remained a genuine issue of material fact as to the city's responsibility for the maintenance and operation of the gate. The defendants then jointly filed a notice of appeal from this interlocutory order, claiming entitlement to immediate review under the doctrine of present execution. Although we conclude that the appeal is not properly before us and must be dismissed, we exercise our discretion to consider the defendants' substantive arguments, which we find to be without merit.

          Background.

          Viewing the evidence in the summary judgment record in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, see Augat, Inc. v. Liberty Mut. Ins. Co., 410 Mass. 117, 120, 571 N.E.2d 357 (1991), the relevant facts may be summarized as follows. On June 26, 2009, Landry, an employee of a commercial laundry, drove to the airport to make a delivery of clean uniforms to the airport maintenance department. At that time, under the terms of an ...


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