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Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly Publishes Settlement

The following article regarding our office was published in Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly on June 1, 2009.

Mother of Four Killed, Truck Driver Pleads Guilty

On October 13, 2006, our client was in a Toyota Camry traveling north, across Route 2, in Concord, Massachusetts. Lawn Barber, Inc, and Acton landscaping company, had a dump truck on Route 2 at the time, driving east. According to witnesses, suddenly and without warning, the driver of the dump truck switched lanes and blew through a red light. The 68,000 pound dump truck crashed into the sedan, killing our client’s wife instantly.

It was determined that the driver had a lengthy history of motor violations. Nevertheless, Lawn Barber’s principals testified that they would rehire the driver because he was a good worker.

Furthermore, notwithstanding over a dozen eyewitness reports and, a criminal case against the driver for wrongful death, Commerce Insurance refused to make any offer of settlement. They forced us to litigate the case for years. They forced our client to testify about his loss. We had to file over 20 discovery motions because they neglected the case. They finally paid the full, $1,000,000 policy.

Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter, Section 2, the wrongful death statute, provides for punitive for gross negligence, malicious, willful, wanton, or reckless conduct. We aggressively pursued financial discovery against Lawn Barber and its principals. Lawn Barber, through private counsel, used every delay tactic they could, however, finally agreed to pay private monies on top of the insurance, to resolve the case.

There was no evidence of any conscious pain and suffering.

After extensive discovery, it was determined that the defendant driver had an extensive driving history for speeding, marked lanes, and red light violations. In this case, he was convicted of speeding, marked lanes, red light violation and wrongful death and was sentenced to 18 months in the Middlesex House of Corrections. The plaintiff was prepared to prove that the owner of the truck and the employer of the driver [Lawn Barber, Inc.] were negligent in hiring and retaining the defendant.

The plaintiff was the husband of the decedent. Following his deposition the insurance carrier offered full insurance policy….

The plaintiff filed a motion for financial discovery, based on the wrongful death statute, Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter, Section 2 which allows for punitive damages to be assessed against an employer for gross negligence, malicious, willful, wanton, or reckless conduct of its employees, agents or servants in the scope of their employment. After allowance of that motion, and discovery of the defendant’s bank accounts and admissions regarding property ownership, the defendants offer personal monies to complete the [$1,000,000 plus] settlement.