Posted May 15, 2020. To settle a pandemic-related financial crisis at UMass Dartmouth, law faculty are not receiving research compensation in summer 2020. I will be away from my desk, May 16 to August 15. Blog posts will be sparse, and I will not receive email. On the upside, summer 🌞! If you need to reach me, please send a message through the faculty assistants’ office (Ms. Cain and Ms. Rittenhouse). Stay thirsty.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Mass. appellate courts render two wrongful death opinions in attenuated duty and causation

Massachusetts appellate courts have rendered two wrongful death opinions in the last two days, both favoring plaintiffs.

In Dubuque v. Cumberland Farms, Inc. (AC 17-P-266) (June 6, 2018), the Court of Appeals upheld a $20m judgment against the convenience store after inadequate "bollard" protection of a pedestrian who was killed when struck by an out-of-control car.  The opinion includes an interesting discussion on evidence regarding the admissibility of past pedestrian-car collisions arguably similar or distinguishable.

Today in Correa v. Schoeck (SJC 12409), the Supreme Judicial Court reinstated Walgreens pharmacy as a defendant in the tragic death of a 19-year-old who was unable to fill a prescription for life-saving medication.  The prescription was hung up on paperwork somewhere among pharmacy, doctor's office, and insurer.  The court held the pharmacy bound to at least a thin reed of duty in the negligence claim.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

'FERPA Close-Up: When Video Captures Violence and Injury'

With Kitty Cone, Esq., I've published FERPA Close-Up: When Video Captures Violence and Injury, 70:4 Okla. L. Rev. 839 (2018), available to download from SSRN and elsewhere.  We are grateful to the staff of the Oklahoma Law Review, who were meticulous and a pleasure to work with.  Here is the abstract.

Federal privacy law is all too often misconstrued or perverted to preclude the disclosure of video recordings that capture students victimized by violent crime or tortious injury. This misuse of federal law impedes transparency and accountability and, in many cases, even jeopardizes the health, safety, and lives of children. When properly construed, however, federal law is no bar to disclosure and, at least in public schools, works in tandem with freedom of information laws to ensure disclosure. This Article posits that without unequivocal guidance from federal administrative authorities, uncertainty regarding the disclosure of such recordings will continue to linger, jeopardizing the ability of plaintiffs to access needed information.