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9.15.2011

Howd & Ludorf, LLC Wins Summary Judgment for Town of Wallingford in Fatal Car Crash

Howd & Ludorf, LLC Partner Jay DonFrancisco won summary judgment on behalf the Town of Wallingford and numerous Town employees, who were brought into a wrongful death lawsuit following a fatal single-car motor vehicle accident.  In Priore, et. al. v. McLean, et. al., Superior Court, Judicial District of New Haven, the estate of the deceased passenger sued the estate of the deceased driver, alleging various theories including negligence and recklessness.  The estate of the deceased driver then sought apportionment from the Town, alleging that the cause of the accident was due to the negligence of the Town and/or its employees related to the design, supervision and inspection of a Town roadway construction project that happened to be taking place on the road where the accident occurred.  Despite the claims of negligence in the apportionment complaints, Attorney DonFrancisco successfully argued that the facts alleged triggered a claim falling within the purview of C.G.S. § 13a-149, the municipal Highway Defect Statute and that apportionment is not permitted under that statute.  The Court agreed that the facts pled invoked § 13a-149 and that the claims against the Town employees were not permitted under that statute.  Finally, the Court ruled that apportionment of liability is wholly inconsistent and irreconcilable with the highway defect statute’s requirement that the alleged defective condition be the sole proximate cause of the accident - a decision that will benefit all of Connecticut’s municipalities.

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