Issue: Under Massachusetts law, does a trial judge commit error by refusing to instruct the jury that defendant owed plaintiff a non-delegable duty to keep its premises safe that could not be fulfilled by hiring an independent contractor?
|Area of Law:||Litigation & Procedure|
|Keywords:||Instructions to the jury; Discretion; Duty of reasonable care|
|Cited Cases:||45 Mass. App. Ct. 469|
The trial judge’s decision regarding instructions to the jury is a matter within the court’s discretion. When there is no evidence to support a proposed jury charge, the trial court properly refuses the proposed instruction. TA s "Karen Constr. Co. v. Lizotte, 396 Mass. 143, 148 (19" c 1 l "Karen Constr. Co. v. Lizotte, 396 Mass. 143 (1985)"Karen Constr. Co. v. Lizotte, 396 Mass. 143, 148 (1985).
Under Massachusetts common law, the duty of a landowner to a person lawfully on the premises is a duty of reasonable care to keep the premises safe. TA s "Sullivan v. Town of Brookline, 416 Mass. 825, 827 (1" c 1 l "Sullivan v. Town of Brookline, 416 Mass. 825 (1994)"Sullivan v. Town of Brookline, 416 Mass. 825, 827 (1994). The commercial landlord’s duty may be modified by contract. The commercial lessor faces liability for personal injuries if (1) the defect that caused the plaintiff injury was in a common area or area appurtenant to the tenant’s area, over which the landlord had control, or (2) if the landlord contracted to make repairs to the premises and was negligent in making the repairs. TA s "Tuchinsky v. Beacon Property Management, 45 Mass. Ap" c 1 l "Tuchinsky v. Beacon Property Management, 45 Mass. App. Ct. 469,review denied, 428 Mass. 1106 (1998)"Tuchinsky v. Beacon Property Mgmt., 45 Mass. App. Ct. 469, 469-70 (holding that the lessor was not liable because it had not made repairs and […]