The defendant, city of Boston (city), appeals from a judgment entered after a jury trial, awarding damages against it for negligence. The plaintiff claimed that on March 9, 1978, while walking on the sidewalk of Commonwealth Avenue in Boston, she slipped on ice and fell, injuring her arm. The parties stipulated that the plaintiff fell and was injured
1. We find no merit in the city's contention that it may not be held liable for injuries on park roads caused by its negligence. In formulating the provisions of G.L.c. 258, as appearing in St. 1978, c. 512, § 15 (by § 16, applicable to causes of action arising on or after August 16, 1977), the Massachusetts Tort Claims Act (Act), the Legislature intended to abrogate the doctrine of governmental immunity in certain tort actions against the Commonwealth, municipalities, and other governmental subdivisions. See Dinsky v. Framingham, 386 Mass. 801, 804 (1982); Rogers v. Metropolitan Dist. Commn., ante 337, 338-339 (1984). "The statutory scheme [of G.L.c. 258] purports to broaden the range of tort claims beyond the numerous judicial and statutory exceptions earlier created to pierce the armor of immunity." Gallant v. Worcester, 383 Mass. 707, 711 (1981).
With the abrogation of the doctrine of sovereign immunity, government entities are now liable "in the same manner and to the same extent as a private individual under like circumstances." G.L.c. 258, § 2. See Dinsky v. Framingham, supra. This language puts municipalities "on the same footing as private tort defendants." Gallant v. Worcester, 383 Mass. at 714. In view of the clause in St. 1978, c. 512, § 18, that the Act "be construed liberally for the accomplishment of the purposes thereof," we think that no statutory basis persists for protecting municipalities from liability for injuries occurring on park roads due to the negligence of the municipality. We hold that claims as to negligent maintenance of park roads are covered by the Act.
The defendant misses the point in arguing that, since G.L.c. 84 was not repealed by G.L.c. 258, such cases as Dakin v. Somerville, 262 Mass. 514 (1928), decided under c. 84, are
2. The city's next claim is that it cannot be held liable for an alleged defect consisting solely of a natural accumulation of snow and ice. We disagree.
The liability of the city here is the same as that of a private person. See G.L.c. 258, § 2; Dinsky v. Framingham, 386 Mass. at 804. A landowner owes a duty of reasonable care to all lawful visitors. See Mounsey v. Ellard, 363 Mass. 693, 707 (1973). This duty includes the taking of reasonable precautions for the safety of visitors, including measures against the hazards caused by ice or snow conditions. See Phipps v. Aptucxet Post # 5988 V.F.W. Building Assn., Inc., 7 Mass.App.Ct. 928 (1979) (jury could infer that the rutted condition of icy parking lot where plaintiff fell was caused by the ingress and egress of cars and could conclude that the defendant knew or should have known of the hazardous condition and should have taken reasonable precautions).
3. The plaintiff complied with the presentment requirement of G.L.c. 258, § 4, that the claim be submitted to the city within two years of the injury. See Weaver v. Commonwealth,
If it was an oversight by the Legislature that park roads were not excluded from coverage by the Act, the Legislature is capable of amending the Act. See Rogers v. Metropolitan Dist. Commn., ante at 339-340.