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Smith Duggan Obtains Defense Verdict in Automatic Door Case

Judgment Affirmed on Appeal

An older woman, who was an internationally famous Shiatsu instructor, claimed she was struck by sliding doors as she tried to enter a CVS store in Cambridge. She sustained serious injuries including a broken hip and aggravation of her Parkinson’s Disease which she claimed had been well controlled until the trauma. She alleged that the automatic door sensing system was defective allowing the doors to close on her as she was in the zone of detection.

The plaintiff was represented by one of the most prominent plaintiff personal injury firms in Massachusetts, who retained a famous MIT Electrical Engineering professor to substantiate her claims. She sought damages for personal injuries, lost earning capacity, and multiple damages and attorneys fees under the Commonwealth’s Consumer Protection statute, Mass. Gen. Laws c. 93A §9.

After a two-week trial, Smith Duggan lawyers Chris Duggan and Gerard Butler obtained a defense verdict for the manufacturer on all counts. The Firm defended the design of the sensors and the entire door opening system, and proved that the system met or exceeded the applicable ANSI standards. They also produced evidence to show that the plaintiff may well have fallen before reaching the protective zone of the automatic doors, and cast serious doubt on the scientific analysis of the plaintiff’s MIT expert.

The defense judgment was affirmed by the Massachusetts Appeals Court. For the Court's opinion, see Miyazaki v. Stanley Works, et al., 2012 WL 6049083 (Mass.App.Ct. Dec. 6, 2012). To hear Chris Duggan’s argument on appeal, click here.