. .

Attorney(s) for Plaintiff:
John P. Maley and Christopher J. Maley
Maley and Maley, PLLC
http://www.maleyandmaley.com

$1,800,000 RECOVERY – MOTOR VEHICLE NEGLIGENCE – HEAD-ON COLLISION – LIABILITY ADMITTED – PLAINTIFF'S VEHICLE IS STRUCK HEAD-ON AS DEFENDANT ATTEMPTS TO PASS ANOTHER VEHICLE AND CROSSES INTO THE PLAINTIFF'S LANE OF TRAVEL – WRONGFUL DEATH OF 64-YEAR-OLD DECEDENT.

United States District Court - District of Vermont

In this wrongful death motor vehicle negligence case, the plaintiff alleged that the defendant was negligent in crossing into the decedent's lane of travel in an attempt to pass another vehicle, which caused a head-on collision between the decedent's vehicle and the defendant's vehicle. The decedent was killed instantly. The defendant admitted liability, but disputed damages.

The 64-year-old male decedent, a husband of 42 years and father to four adult children was operating his motor vehicle southbound on Route 7 in Shaftsbury. The defendant was operating her motor vehicle in a northbound direction on Route 7. The defendant pulled into the southbound lane of travel in order to pass a vehicle in front of her in the northbound lane. The decedent's vehicle collided head on with the defendant's vehicle in the decedent's lane of travel. The decedent was killed instantly in the collision.

The plaintiff brought suit against the defendant alleging negligence and seeking damages for the wrongful death of her husband. The defendant admitted liability for the collision, but disputed the plaintiff's claim of injuries and damages which the defendant deemed excessive.The parties agreed to settle the plaintiff's case for the sum of $1,800,000 in a settlement before the trial date.

Reference
Lucille Johnson, Administrator of the Estate of Arthur J. Johnson vs. Mary E. Fasciana. Case no. 2:10-cv-178, 01-28-11.

Attorney for plaintiff: John P. Maley, Christopher J. Maley and Malcolm Lyons of Sylvester & Maley in Burlington, VT.

Commentary
The plaintiff alleged that the decedent and his family were a special family that could clearly and movingly articulate their losses. The plaintiff wife submitted compelling evidence of the decedent's love, affection, comfort, consortium, guidance, support, counsel and companionship during the couple's 42-year marriage. The plaintiff was employed as the breadwinner during much of the parties' married life and the plaintiff had just started a new job as assistant principal at a middle school. The decedent did not work at the time of the collision, but testimony demonstrated that he was an expert gardener who maintained a self-sustaining organic garden for the family. Evidence was presented that he raised poultry, was a mechanic, electrician, plumber and carpenter for the family. There was evidence presented regarding the decedent's relationship with his children which was a very strong bond considering that he was for the most part a stay-at-home dad while the children were growing and even as adults they were very close to their father and suffered a loss as a result of his death.

According to the plaintiff's counsel, a challenge was the fact that the plaintiff had to acknowledge that there was little Vermont precedent reported on similar wrongful death cases with admitted liability. The cases that were reported were quite modest in monetary value compared with the damages that the plaintiff was looking to recoup on behalf of herself and her children. Plaintiff's counsel reported that the confidentiality of prior Vermont settlements hampered settlement discussions to resolve the matter in a manner suitable to the plaintiff.

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