Firm wins summary judgment on ‘business damages’ claim

BOSTON (Sept. 3, 2013) — Edward D. Shoulkin and Jennifer L. Rousseau recently persuaded a Massachusetts Superior Court judge to grant partial summary judgment to their client, dismissing a “business damages” claim of a personal injury plaintiff.

The judge, agreeing with the argument of Shoulkin and Rousseau, ruled that the man’s claim was too speculative, and that he had no reasonable expectation of proving lost business profits and investments.

The man alleged he was injured when a weight machine malfunctioned on the premises of the firm’s client, a Boston hotel, causing injuries to his back, foot, hip, shoulder and knee. As a result of the incident, the man alleged that he lost business profits of approximately $3.7 million because the injuries limited his ability to properly oversee restaurants he owned and operated.

Under Massachusetts law, a plaintiff in a negligence case is entitled to recover damages for a diminution of earning power, such as evidence an injury caused lost wages or other income derived from personal services. However, Shoulkin and Rousseau successfully argued that lost business profits are too remote as a matter of law in a personal injury case where the profits are impacted by numerous factors other than the personal services of the individual plaintiff.

“We are pleased for our client that the judge rejected this speculative claim,” said Rousseau. “The plaintiff simply couldn’t prove that any of his claimed business damages were proximately caused by his alleged inability to provide personal services due to his injuries.”

About Barton Gilman

Barton Gilman is one of New England’s leading civil litigation law firms with offices in Boston and Providence, including its premises liability practice. Its experienced trial attorneys appear regularly in the federal and state courts of Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut. The Providence Business News named the firm as one of Rhode Island’s Best Places to Work for five consecutive years (2008–2012).