Nalbandian v. Alliance Health of Massachusetts Inc.

In Nalbandian v. Alliance Health of Massachusetts, Inc., a wrongful death suit arising out of the plaintiff’s decedent’s fall at a long term care facility, the plaintiff pleaded a consumer protection theory of liability pursuant to General Laws Chapter 93A.  In addition to affirming that the nursing home’s liability on the plaintiff’s tort claim was capped at $20,000 by operation of Massachusetts’ charitable immunity statute, the court disposed of the plaintiff’s G.L. c. 93A claim on summary judgment.  In so ruling, the court found that because the operator of a nursing home is a charitable corporation, it was not involved in “trade or commerce” as required for recovery under Chapter 93A.  Second, following the ruling in Darviris v. Petros, 442 Mass. 274 (2004), the court held that negligent nursing treatment, without more, is insufficient for redress under Chapter 93A.

The Darviris court ruled that a violation of state regulations governing nursing homes, on its own, is insufficient to establish liability under G.L. c. 93A.  Because the plaintiff in Nalbandian alleged only nursing negligence and violations of Massachusetts regulations governing nursing homes, the court ruled that the nursing home was entitled to judgment as a matter of law on the plaintiff’s G.L. c. 93A claims.

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