Appeals Court: KATHLEEN SLAVIN v. AMERICAN MEDICAL RESPONSE OF MASSACHUSETTS INC.

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Keywords – Massachusetts Tort Claims Act. Governmental Immunity. Municipal Corporations, Liability for tort, Governmental immunity. Negligence, Governmental immunity, Ambulance. Practice, Civil, Motion to dismiss

Excerpt:  “SACKS, J.  The defendant city of Taunton (city) appeals, under the doctrine of present execution, see Brum v. Dartmouth, 428 Mass. 684, 687-688 (1999), from a Superior Court judge’s order denying the city’s motion to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims under the Massachusetts Tort Claims Act.[3]  The plaintiff alleges that city employees negligently delayed in responding to her 911 call reporting that she and her mother had been stabbed by an intruder, and that this delay caused the mother’s wrongful death and the plaintiff’s emotional distress.  We conclude, applying the plain language of G. L. c. 258, § 10 (j), that these harms were “not originally caused by” the city’s delayed response, but instead were caused by “the violent or tortious conduct of a third person” — the intruder — and thus that § 10 (j) bars the claims.  We also must reject the plaintiff’s argument that the claims fall within an exception to § 10 (j) for harm caused by negligent medical treatment.  Accordingly, the claims should have been dismissed.”

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