The family of a boy struck by a police vehicle while crossing the street was paid a $1.5 million settlement in a federal court suit, Estate of McCloskey v. Franklin Township.

The funds were paid by the Trico Joint Insurance Fund on Aug. 6 after the settlement was reached earlier in the year, according to the plaintiffs’ lawyer, Matthew Schiappa of Lomurro Law in Freehold.

In the nighttime hours of Dec. 28, 2014, Matthew McCloskey, 10, was walking on Delsea Drive in Franklin Townswhip with two friends, heading to the friends’ home for a sleepover, and as they crossed Delsea Drive near Elmer Street, McCloskey was struck by a township police vehicle, Schiappa said.

McCloskey was thrown about 120 fee and struck a mailbox, and died at the scene of the accident.

The suit claimed the vehicle, driven by Officer Nicholas Locilento and responding to a call, was travelling as much as 35 miles per hour in excess of the road’s 50 mile-per-hour speed limit and didn’t have its emergency lights activated. The suit, filed in U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, lodged claims for wrongful death, survivorship and civil rights violations.

The township defended the claims, according to Schiappa, contending that McCloskey ran across the road in the dark, in an unlit area and wearing dark clothes; that there was no conscious pain and suffering; and that the suit’s claim for economic damages was limited given McCloskey’s age. The plaintiffs, through a medial expert, disputed the assertion that there was no conscious pain and suffering, Schiappa said.

The parties were in expert discovery when they settled for $1.5 million during a settlement conference with U.S. Magistrate Judge Ann Marie Donio, according to Schiappa. In addition to the monetary payment, the township agreed to hold an annual safety day in McCloskey’s honor, which the township committee approved on Aug. 14. After that, the firm transferred the settlement proceeds from its trust account to the client, Schiappa said.

Counsel to the defendants, James Birchmeier of Birchmeier & Powell in Tuckahoe, didn’t return a call about the case.

— David Gialanella

$1.375M in Storage Facility Fall

Aponte v. CubeSmart: A Pennsylvania man will receive $1.375 million in his Morris County suit as compensation for injuries he sustained when he slipped and fell in a storage facility leased by his employer.

Plaintiff Carlos Aponte, now 42, of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania., and the carriers for defendants CubeSmart, Siegel Distributing , Nations Roof and Dahn Corp, agreed to the settlement on Nov. 12 after mediation with Mark Epstein, a retired Superior Court Judge with New Brunswick’s Hoagland, Longo,Moran, Dunst & Doukas, said Aponte’s attorney, Corey Dietz.

Aponte was injured on Feb. 26, 2015, when he slipped and fell on water and ice in a storage facility in Whippany that was leased to Aponte’s  employer, Siegel Distributing, and owned by CubeSmart. CubeSmart had acquired the facility from Dahn Inc., said Dietz, of Brach Eichler in Roseland.

The lawsuit alleged that Dahn, CubeSmart, Siegel and a subcontractor, Nations Roof East, knew that the roof of the storage facility leaked and that repair attempts had failed.

As a result  of the accident, Aponte sustained disc herniation and disc bulges, Dietz said. He ultimately underwent a hemilaminotomy, Dietz said.

CubeSmart had coverage through Axis Surplus Insurance Co. and National Surety Corp. They will contribute $1.25 million toward the the settlement,  Dietz said. The carriers retained Richard Hull of the Montville office of Kerley, Walsh, Matera & Cinquimani. He confirmed the amount of the settlement.

Siegel had coverage through Hanover Insurance Group and Citizens Insurance Co. of America, and they will pay $75,000, said Dietz. The carriers’ attorney, Patrick Coyne of Terkowitz & Hermesmann in Somerset, didn’t return a call about the case.

Hartford Fire Insurance Co. provided coverage for Nations Roof. It will pay $50,000, Dietz said. The carrier retained Matthew Mahoney of the Law Office of Linda Baumann in East Windsor. He declined to comment.

Dahn Corp. was found to be not liable in the mediation, Dietz said.

The lawsuit was venued in Morris County. No trial date had been set.

The settlement will be offset by a workers’ compensation lien of $6,210, Dietz noted.

— Michael Booth