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A 25-year-old veteran will get $422,018 to settle a lawsuit filed after he was mauled by two pit bull-mix guard dogs in an experience he told investigators was worse than the combat he faced overseas, according to his attorney.

Mitchell Ducharme, of Lebanon, agreed to the settlement on Jan. 25, the same day jury selection was set to begin in Rockville Superior Court. Ducharme was attacked by the two dogs in a junkyard at Coutu Auto Sales in Willimantic, where his stepbrother worked.


Peter Brown of Trantolo & Trantolo

“It’s a good result,” said Ducharme’s attorney, Peter J. Brown with the Hartford office of Trantolo & Trantolo. “Who knows what the jury could have done. They could have offered only $250,000. He was very happy with the ending and he decided to take it.”

Ducharme’s stepbrother, Jeremy Slater, called him in August 2013 because Slater’s car wouldn’t work. Ducharme arrived at the shop with a tool for Slater, who assured him that he knew and fed the dogs, and that they should be fine.

Shortly after entering the junkyard, Duchar­me was greeted by one of the dogs, according to his February 2016 motion for summary judgment, which was granted. After Ducharme extended his hand to allow that dog to smell and lick him, the other dog charged and attacked him. Soon, both dogs were mauling him.

The attack lasted for about 10 minutes, according to Brown.

“He was in the yard and after the attacks started running into the building to get away,” Brown said. “The dogs got in the building with him.” Ducharme went back outside with the dogs still in pursuit until he was able—with Slater’s help—to fight them off. Slater “was in shock and was doing everything he could to try to help his brother out,” Brown said.

The attack left Ducharme severely injured. He suffered bites, lacerations and puncture wounds to much of his body and, Brown said, “the attack exacerbated the PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder]” related to his time in Afghanistan.

“He [Ducharme] testified in deposition that the dog mauling was actually worse than anything he ever faced in Afghanistan and he was in several firefights in Afghanistan,” Brown said.

Ducharme, Brown said Friday, ended up having two surgeries to his wrist. He has 18 percent permanent disability to his left upper arm, major scarring and disfigurement, his attorney said.

Ducharme, who is currently a laborer and machine operator for a construction company in Mansfield Center, is happy with the settlement, Brown said.

The dogs involved in the incident were later put down, Brown confirmed.

Kevin R. Kratzer, an attorney with Hartford-based Boyle, Shaughnessy & Campo, represented Robert A. Couto, who owned the auto shop. Kratzer was not available for comment Friday.

A 25-year-old veteran will get $422,018 to settle a lawsuit filed after he was mauled by two pit bull-mix guard dogs in an experience he told investigators was worse than the combat he faced overseas, according to his attorney.

Mitchell Ducharme, of Lebanon, agreed to the settlement on Jan. 25, the same day jury selection was set to begin in Rockville Superior Court. Ducharme was attacked by the two dogs in a junkyard at Coutu Auto Sales in Willimantic, where his stepbrother worked.


Peter Brown of Trantolo & Trantolo

“It’s a good result,” said Ducharme’s attorney, Peter J. Brown with the Hartford office of Trantolo & Trantolo. “Who knows what the jury could have done. They could have offered only $250,000. He was very happy with the ending and he decided to take it.”

Ducharme’s stepbrother, Jeremy Slater, called him in August 2013 because Slater’s car wouldn’t work. Ducharme arrived at the shop with a tool for Slater, who assured him that he knew and fed the dogs, and that they should be fine.

Shortly after entering the junkyard, Duchar­me was greeted by one of the dogs, according to his February 2016 motion for summary judgment, which was granted. After Ducharme extended his hand to allow that dog to smell and lick him, the other dog charged and attacked him. Soon, both dogs were mauling him.

The attack lasted for about 10 minutes, according to Brown.

“He was in the yard and after the attacks started running into the building to get away,” Brown said. “The dogs got in the building with him.” Ducharme went back outside with the dogs still in pursuit until he was able—with Slater’s help—to fight them off. Slater “was in shock and was doing everything he could to try to help his brother out,” Brown said.

The attack left Ducharme severely injured. He suffered bites, lacerations and puncture wounds to much of his body and, Brown said, “the attack exacerbated the PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder]” related to his time in Afghanistan.

“He [Ducharme] testified in deposition that the dog mauling was actually worse than anything he ever faced in Afghanistan and he was in several firefights in Afghanistan,” Brown said.

Ducharme, Brown said Friday, ended up having two surgeries to his wrist. He has 18 percent permanent disability to his left upper arm, major scarring and disfigurement, his attorney said.

Ducharme, who is currently a laborer and machine operator for a construction company in Mansfield Center, is happy with the settlement, Brown said.

The dogs involved in the incident were later put down, Brown confirmed.

Kevin R. Kratzer, an attorney with Hartford-based Boyle, Shaughnessy & Campo, represented Robert A. Couto, who owned the auto shop. Kratzer was not available for comment Friday.