Jury Says Town Not Negligent in Field Maintenance: Murray v. Town of Hudson


Murray v. Town of Hudson, Worcester Sup. Ct.

PDP attorney Jason W. Crotty successfully obtained a defense verdict in favor of the Town of Hudson after a two-day jury trial in Worcester Superior Court held before Judge Daniel M. Wrenn. The case arose out of an injury that occurred during a high school baseball game.  The plaintiff testified that the bullpen pitching mound was uneven and poorly maintained. causing him to stumble, fall and land unevenly on his left knee. 

In his lawsuit, the plaintiff claimed:

  • that the bullpen area was defectively designed, in that the area had insufficient lighting;
  • wooden timbers should not have been used in the construction of the bullpen and;
  • that the Town improperly maintained the bullpen mound itself.

At trial, PDP was successful in arguing that the Judge should restrict the plaintiff’s right to recovery because the Town was immune from suit on the negligent design theory under the “discretionary function” exception of the Massachusetts Tort Claims Act, M.G.L. c. 258, § 10(b).  By finding that the Town was immune from any claim of negligent design of the bullpen, the Court instructed the jury that they could only consider the plaintiff’s “negligent maintenance” theory in determining liability.  The jury agreed with PDP’s assessment that the plaintiff’s claim of negligent maintenance of the bullpen was very weak and quickly returned a verdict in favor of the Town, concluding that the Town was not negligent. 


Read more about this case in Developments in Municipal Law Fall 2016 Newsletter on piercedavis.com.


Jason W. Crotty