Massachusetts Appellate Court Declines to Apply “Mode of Operation” Doctrine and Affirms the Dismissal of Premises Liability Case

Will This Decision Affect My Brockton Personal Injury Case?

Earlier last year, the Appeals Court of Massachusetts issued a written decision in an interesting premises liability case that required the court to discuss the “mode of operation” doctrine. In the case, Amara v. Falcon Holding Corporation, the court determined that the facts of the plaintiff’s accident did not fall within the doctrine, and the court ultimately affirmed the dismissal of the plaintiff’s case.

Wet Floor SignThe Facts of the Case

Amara was attending a conference at a Sheraton Hotel. On a trip to the restroom, Amara slipped and fell on the ceramic tile floor, sustaining serious injuries as a result. Upon getting up, she noticed that the floor was covered in a wet foamy substance that smelled like furniture polish. Upon further investigation, Amara located an uncapped bottle of furniture polish in a nearby cabinet that was leaking onto the floor. Evidently, another person attending the conference thought that it was an air freshener and sprayed the substance accordingly.

Amara filed a premises liability lawsuit against the owner of the hotel. In response, the hotel asked for the case to be dismissed because the plaintiff had failed to provide evidence that the owner knew or should have known about the dangerous condition on the floor. Amara did not argue that anyone at the hotel knew about the spill but instead argued that under the “mode of operation” doctrine, the hotel could still be held liable. The trial court disagreed with Amara and granted the hotel’s motion to dismiss. Amara appealed.

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