New England Verdicts

Find out about the most important recent New England cases, selected by VerdictSearch editors. Coverage includes Middlesex, Suffolk, Worcester, Essex, Hartford, New Haven, Fairfield, Providence and Bristol counties.

Subscribe to VerdictSearch New England for access to all New England verdictsSubscribe

Homeowners denied liability for tenant’s fall through porch roof

Type:

Verdict-Defendant

State:

Massachusetts

Venue:

Suffolk County

Court:

Suffolk County, Superior Court

Injury Type(s):

other-soft tissue other-back and neck

Case Type:

Premises Liability – ResidenceConstruction – Negligent SupervisionSlips, Trips & Falls – Slips, Trips & Falls, Fall from HeightPremises Liability – Negligent Repair and/or Maintenance

Case Name:

Noe Lemus v. Elizabeth A. Gifford, Ronald Gifford and Shaun McDonough dba Shaun McDonough Residential Renovation & Remodeling,
No. 1585CV578

Date:

June 27, 2017

Parties

Plaintiff(s):

Noe Lemus (Male, 40 Years)

Plaintiff Attorney(s):

Richard J. Sullivan;
Sullivan & Sullivan, LLP;
Wellesley,
MA,
for
Noe Lemus ■ Thomas P. Kelley;
Sullivan & Sullivan, LLP;
Wellesley,
MA,
for
Noe Lemus

Defendant(s):

Ronald Gifford, 

Shaun McDonough, 

Elizabeth A. Gifford

Defense Attorney(s):

Owen P. McGowan;
McGowan & Associates;
Norwell,
MA,
for
Ronald Gifford, Elizabeth A. Gifford ■ David F. Hassett;
Hassett & Donnelly, P.C.;
Worcester,
MA,
for
Shaun McDonough ■ Jacob E. Lavin;
McGowan & Associates;
Norwell,
MA,
for
Ronald Gifford, Elizabeth A. Gifford ■ Mathew G. Lindberg;
Hassett & Donnelly, P.C.;
for
Shaun McDonough

Facts:

On Nov. 10, 2014, plaintiff Noe Lemus, 40, was standing on the roof of his porch outside his home located in Revere when the roof suddenly and unexpectedly gave way. He fell 10 feet to the ground. Lemus claimed he injured his neck and back. Lemus sued the owners of the property, Elizabeth A. Gifford and Ronald Gifford, for negligence. Lemus also sued Shaun McDonough d/b/a Shaun McDonough Residential Renovation & Remodeling for negligence. Prior to trial, Shaun McDonough Residential Renovation & Remodeling conceded liability and settled with Lemus for terms that were not disclosed. The trial proceeded against the Giffords only. Lemus alleged that the Giffords hired Shaun McDonough Residential Renovation & Remodeling to renovate the roof over the home’s porch. Lemus claimed the Giffords, as the project’s contractor and supervisor, failed to properly maintain the roof in a reasonably safe condition and failed to properly supervise the construction and negligent installation of the porch roof. As a result of the allegedly negligent renovation work, Lemus argued that the porch roof collapsed when he stood on it to make some routine repairs. The Giffords argued that they cannot be liable for the alleged negligent construction and installation of the property’s porch roof. The Giffords also argued that they could not be held liable for any role they may have played as contractor or supervisor of the work on the porch roof.

Injury:

Lemus was taken by ambulance to a local emergency room with complaints of pain in his neck and back, for which he underwent medical care. Lemus claimed residual pain and limitations performing activities of daily living. He sought damages for past and future medicals, as well as damages for past and future pain and suffering. The defense did not actively dispute Lemus’ claimed damages.

Result:

The jury found Elizabeth A. Gifford and Ronald Gifford were not negligent and a defense verdict was entered.

Trial Information:

Judge:

Elizabeth M. Fahey

Trial Length:

2
 days

Trial Deliberations:

2
 hours

Editor’s Comment:

This report is based on information that was gleaned from court documents and information obtained from defense counsel for Shaun McDonough. Plaintiff’s counsel and defense counsel for the Giffords did not respond to the reporter’s phone calls.