Meyer v. Veolia Energy North AmericaAnnotate this Case
The Supreme Judicial Court reversed the superior court's grant of summary judgment to Defendant and dismissing Plaintiff's personal injury action on the grounds that Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 84, 15, the road defect statute, provided the exclusive remedy for Plaintiff's claim and that Plaintiff had not provided the statutorily required notice, holding that section 15 did not limit Defendant's common-law liability under tort law and that Defendant may be sued for negligence without providing thirty days' notice under Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 84, 18, the notice statute.
Plaintiff was injured when, while riding his bicycle, he struck a utility cover that was misaligned with the road surface. Plaintiff brought suit against Defendant, Veolia Energy North America, for negligence. The superior court judge dismissed the lawsuit. The Supreme Judicial Court reversed, holding (1) the road defect and notice statutes apply to governmental and quasi-governmental actors responsible for the public duty of maintaining the public way and not to a private party such as Veolia that has created a particular defect in the road; and (2) Veolia may be sued for its own negligence without providing thirty days' notice.