A Harwinton man who injured his right shoulder, neck and back after a 2016 collision with another vehicle has reached a $840,000 mediated settlement.
John Malarney’s Chrysler Town and Country minivan collided with Richard Crane’s pickup truck on Clayton Road in North Canaan, according to Malarney’s attorney, Ron Etemi of Trantolo & Trantolo. Crane went through a stop sign and did not give Malarney enough time to react to the accident, said Etemi, who filed suit in Litchfield Superior Court on his client’s behalf in May 2017.
Etemi’s brother and fellow Trantolo & Trantolo litigator, Lou, assisted on the case.
Etemi told the Connecticut Law Tribune the crash totaled his client’s vehicle. He said speed was not a factor, and that Crane was inattentive.
Crane was issued an infraction for failure to obey a stop sign.
Malarney, 55, argued he suffered injuries to his head, neck, back, both shoulders, ribs, right leg, right foot and right ankle. His attorney said the most severe injuries were to his right shoulder, neck and back.
Malarney, who underwent right shoulder surgery two and a half years after the accident, “is still dealing with pain that can hamper his day-to-day activities,” Etemi said Tuesday. “He gets occasional pain injections in the neck, shoulder and back, but John is a very strong man. He does his best, considering the injuries he has.”
The parties settled the case Friday, following seven hours of mediation with retired Judge Robert Holzberg of Pullman & Comley.
The defense’s first offer, Etemi said, was $80,000, compared with the plaintiff’s initial demand of $4 million.
“We put out a high demand to serve as an anchor,” Etemi said.
Representing defendant Crane and his insurer, Federated Mutual Insurance, was Maciej Piatkowski, an associate with Ryan Ryan Deluca. Piatkowski declined to comment on the case Tuesday.
But in court papers, the defense maintained Malarney was responsible for his own injuries. It claimed Malarney was speeding, inattentive and failed to keep and maintain a reasonable and proper lookout; failed to apply his brakes to avoid the collision; and failed to maneuver his vehicle to avoid the crash.
Police did not cite Malarney for the crash.
The defense also hired sports medicine orthopedic practitioner Michael Redler to dispute causation and any future medical expenses Malarney would seek to recover.
Redler contended that the shoulder surgery’s timing pointed to a degenerative condition, not a traumatic one. He also argued that the neck and back injuries were also degenerative, and that Malarney would have had these ailments as he aged, regardless of whether he was ever in a car crash.
But plaintiff’s counsel rebutted these claims. They argued their client would need therapy and injections for the rest of his life, incurring “hundreds of thousands of dollars” in expenses for future medical care. They added that medical expenses have reached about $130,000 to date.
Etemi also said that Malarney, a director of housekeeping at a high school in Sheffield, Massachusetts, “was happy with the settlement.”