The Appeals Court, in its decision in Sarrouf v City of Boston and Boston Gas and Another issued yesterday, upheld the trial court’s dismissal of the case at the close of the plaintiff’s case on the issue of inadequate notice. The case had been brought by the Plaintiff, Daneil Sarrouf under the “defective way” statute (G. L. c. 84, §§ 15 & 18). Sarrouf stepped into an uneven depression in the road and suffered serious injury to her left foot, and then notified the City of Boston within thirty days, as required by the statute.

The Court, in its ruling, stated: “We decline to read into the statute an exception to timely notice when the responsible party is not reasonably ascertainable.  The statute excuses late notice only if “by reason of physical or mental incapacity it is impossible for the person injured to give the notice within the time required.”  G. L. c. 84, § 19.  The inclusion of one exception implies that the Legislature intentionally refrained from creating additional exceptions.  See Harborview Residents’ Comm., Inc. v. Quincy Hous. Auth., 368 Mass. 425, 432 (1975) (“a statutory expression of one thing is an implied exclusion of other things omitted from the statute”).”

Click here for the full text of the Appeals Court decision.

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