Attorney David Hassett successfully obtained a defense verdict in Essex Superior Court in a case arising from an alleged assault and battery occurring in front a convenience store in Beverly, Massachusetts. The versions of events provided by the parties differed significantly. The plaintiff alleged that he was driving behind the plaintiff when they both arrived at the convenience store and got into a verbal altercation regarding a parking spot. The plaintiff testified that after the defendant parked, he got out of his vehicle, stuck his head into the window of plaintiff’s vehicle, and yelled at the plaintiff before going into the store. According to the plaintiff, when the defendant exited the store he “whipped at coke bottle” at the plaintiff before tackling him to the ground. The plaintiff alleged injuries including a fractured ankle requiring ORIF surgery and lost wages as a result of the defendant’s negligence.
The defendant testified that he was unaware that the plaintiff was driving behind him until he arrived at the convenience store. According to the defendant, when he pulled over to park, the plaintiff flew into an inexplicable rage and began cursing at him and threatened to kill him. When the defendant exited the store, the plaintiff was waiting for him and, according to the defendant, the 6 foot, 1 inch, 235 pound, 32-year old plaintiff attached the 5 foot, 8 inch, 170 pound, 48-year old defendant and punched him several times. The defendant testified that he pushed the plaintiff back at which time the plaintiff fell and broke his ankle. Significantly, the defendant testified that the plaintiff appeared to be highly intoxicated at the time of the altercation, a fact which was supported by emergency room treatment records and the plaintiff’s own admission that he had consumed two beers earlier in the day.
Attorney Hassett argued that the plaintiff’s fall and the injuries resulting therefrom were caused by the plaintiff’s own actions while intoxicated. Further, Attorney Hassett argued that the plaintiff’s claim for lost wages was unsupported. The jury returned with a verdict in favor of the defendant and further found that the defendant should be permitted to recover defense costs from the plaintiff.