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CT Law Tribune Personal Injury Lawyer Article

Overcoming Suspicion, Cheshire Lawyer Clinches Settlement for Man Who Sued Girlfriend After Falling on Ice

Cheshire plaintiffs counsel Frank Bartlett helped secure a $250,000 settlement for his client, who sued his girlfriend, after falling on accumulated ice in her driveway.

By Robert Storace | July 01, 2020 at 02:23 PM

Slip and fall on ice captured by girlfriend's camera
Davanand Shiwgobin, who fell on ice accumulation on a driveway on his girlfriend’s property, and recently settled the case for $250,000.

Davanand Shiwgobin, who fell on ice accumulation on a driveway on his girlfriend’s property, recently settled the case for $250,000.

When plaintiff Davanand Shiwgobin sued his girlfriend for falling on accumulated ice on her driveway, the defense team thought the fix was in. Defense counsel took the view, according to plaintiffs counsel Frank Bartlett, that Shiwgobin and then-girlfriend Nirmala Budhai had colluded to fake the slip and fall and have it taped to collect on the insurance policy.
So Bartlett, owner of Bartlett Legal Group in Cheshire, worked to prove otherwise. He built a case to show Shiwgobin had, in fact, fallen and injured himself. “Initially, I thought this would be your typical open-and-shut, slip-and-fall case,” Bartlett said Wednesday. “The defense made the claim that the girlfriend had just put in the surveillance camera … to capture the fall.”
But Bartlett was ready to show that Budhai’s surveillance video, which captured the fall, had been installed years earlier.


Building the case

Shiwgobin fell in February 2018, according to the January 2019 lawsuit filed in New Britain Superior Court. Budhai had asked him to take out the trash. When he fell, he injured his lower back, left leg and left foot, the lawsuit says.The case settled for $250,000 with Budhai’s homeowner’s policy, and Bartlett has a case pending aganst the two owners of the property.The attorney said he needed documentation to prove there was no collusion—lots of documentation.“There were questions from the defense on whether or not the plaintiff had lived with the defendant. He did not,” Bartlett said. “So we went to get the records from the Department of Motor Vehicles and bank records to show he owned a house in Waterbury. We also obtained the services of a meteorologist, who said based on a review of weather records, that the ice had existed in the driveway for at least 24 to 48 hours before the fall. There was a lot of leg work we did to dispel the collusion claims.

The defense team had offered $50,000 to settle the matter; Bartlett said no. The defense, though, after faced with the bank and DMV records and, especially the weather records, did agree to pay $250,000 of the $300,000 policy limit.

Bartlett said. Shiwgobin, 51, had to leave his job working for a Macy’s distribution center in Cheshire after the fall, Bartlett said. He incurred about $88,000 in medical expenses. Bartlett said his client had surgery to his back, which, he said, left Shiwgobin with pain and decreased range of motion. Shiwgobin, Bartlett said, also has a condition known as “drop foot” because of the fall.

Representing CSAA Affinity Insurance Co., Budhai’s insurance carrier, were Joseph Andriola and Sean Caruthers, both with Neubert, Pepe & Monteith in New Haven. Neither attorney responded to a request for comment Wednesday. But in court pleadings, the defense put the blame on the plaintiff. They alleged Shiwgobin failed to “keep and maintain a reasonable and proper lookout” and “failed to make reasonable and proper use of his senses and faculties.”

Courtesy of the Connecticut Law Tribune

CT Law Tribune Personal Injury Lawyer Article

Consolidating Suits From Accident-Prone Plaintiff Pays Off for Cheshire Attorney

Plaintiffs attorney Frank Bartlett secured a $350,000 settlement for a client who was injured in two car crashes.

By Robert Storace | February 27, 2020 at 05:55 PM
 
 
New Haven Superior Court
New Haven Superior Court. 
Representing a New Haven man whose pleadings showed he had the misfortune of being in two car crashes in five months, plaintiffs attorney Frank Bartlett had a decision to make: File a consolidated lawsuit or two complaints.
The attorney, owner of Cheshire-based Bartlett Legal Group, made the decision to file one lawsuit on behalf of 29-year-old client Joel Contreras-Arteaga. He figured the move would allow him to bring both defendants to the negotiating table, and strengthen the odds of gaining a favorable result for his client.
 
“There I was, with the attorney for the driver in the second accident, putting pressure on the attorney for the driver in the first accident,” Bartlett said. “You would not have had that dynamic if there was two lawsuits.”
In the end, the defendants’ insurers made a total payout of $350,000.
 
“In filing one lawsuit, you look more credible in the eyes of the insurance companies,” Bartlett said Thursday. “In this way, they know you are not trying to hide another accident or injuries. At the end of the day, you also feel like you are getting a better result.
 
The lawsuit was filed in September 2018 in New Haven Superior Court.
Bartlett said his client had a spell of bad luck within a five-month period, and that Contreras-Arteaga had not caused the crashes. In the first instance, there was a collision on Interstate 95, between Contreras-Arteaga’s vehicle and one that George Cruz was driving. Police didn’t ticket either driver, and said it wasn’t clear who was at fault. Bartlett said that crash required his client to undergo back surgery.
The second collision was a rear-ender in March 2017 in North Branford, in which defendant driver Julia Dewitt was cited for following too closely, Bartlett said.
The case was resolved Feb. 10.
NJM Insurance Group, the insurance carrier for Cruz, paid $300,000 toward the settlement. Liberty Mutual Insurance Co., the insurer for Dewitt, paid $50,000.
Cruz’s attorney, Don Swift of New Haven-based Lynch, Traub, Keefe & Errante, did not respond to a request for comment Thursday.
Representing Dewitt was Jesalyn Cole with the Law Offices of Meehan, Roberts, Turret & Rosenbaum in Wallingford. Cole did not respond to a request for comment.
Both defendants denied liability, leaving the plaintiff’s side to prove its case.

Courtesy of the Connecticut Law Tribune

 

CT Law Tribune Personal Injury Lawyer Article

Cheshire Lawyer Clinches Settlement for Client With Preexisting Conditions

Cheshire-based attorney Frank Bartlett Jr. helped secure $102,000 for plaintiff Guy Beaudoin, who sustained injuries in a three-vehicle collision.

By Robert Storace | February 05, 2020 at 12:01 PM

Car accident with preexisting medical conditions
Guy Beaudoin reinjured his left shoulder following a three-vehicle accident in which his car was struck from behind by another vehicle, thus forcing the Beaudoin car to go into the rear of a school bus. Courtesy photo
A Cheshire solo practitioner fought back claims from an insurance adjuster, who claimed the plaintiff would have had rotator cuff surgery anyway despite reinjuring his left shoulder in a three-vehicle crash.
Plaintiff counsel Frank Bartlett Jr. overcame that defense argument to secure a $102,000 settlement.

His client, Guy Beaudoin, a 58-year-old Stafford resident, was injured when he stopped for a school bus in Stafford in December 2017. Beaudoin’s Subaru Legacy Outback hit a school bus after the Subaru Forester that Eileen Faas-Landry was driving rear-ended it. The impact, Bartlett and the police report said, was so strong that Beaudoin’s vehicle was pushed underneath the rear bumper of the school bus.
Faas-Landry was issued an infraction for failure to travel at a safe distance apart. The case was settled with a Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. adjuster and no lawsuit was ever filed.

The adjuster, Bartlett said, tried to argue that Beaudoin was going to have revision surgery anyway on his shoulder, due to a shoulder injury in the workplace in 2007. Therefore, Bartlett said, adjuster Joe Gustavsen maintained any settlement offer for Beaudoin should be minimal.
“They argued that because of the initial rotator cuff repair in his left shoulder 12 years prior, that there was a normal progression for another surgery for ongoing pain,” Bartlett said. “We argued that he would not have needed surgery if not for the car accident. We showed that by working with his doctor. That doctor said the need for surgery was associated with this accident as opposed to a normal degeneration following the initial surgery.”
Gustavsen did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday, and Faas-Landry did not have counsel.

Beaudoin, who incurred $45,000 in medical expenses, also suffered neck and back pain following the car crash, Bartlett said.
The defense’s initial offer, Bartlett said, was for $77,000. Bartlett said his initial demand was for $150,000. The case was settled Jan. 14 and Liberty Mutual disbursed the $102,000 on Jan. 17.
A landscaper, Beaudoin missed four weeks of work following his January 2019 surgery, Bartlett said.
Beaudoin, Bartlett said, “had some limited range of motion in his left shoulder following the surgery.”

Courtesy of the Connecticut Law Tribune

 

CT Law Tribune Personal Injury Lawyer Article

LAWYER SIDESTEPS MUNICIPAL PROTECTIONS TO SUE GREENWICH OVER MAN’S DROWNING

Attorney Frank Bartlett has settled the case of a New Jersey man who drowned on property owned by the town of Greenwich for $600,000.
By Robert Storace | December 09, 2019, at 03:44 PM
Vehicle being removed from Greenwhich Marina after drowning

New Jersey resident Patrick Conroy drowned in this van after his vehicle left the travel portion of the parking lot of the Cos Cob Town Marina and entered the water. The town of Greenwich owns the marina and recently agreed to settle the case for $600,000. Courtesy photo.

 
A Cheshire attorney has secured a $600,000 settlement for the estate of an 80-year-old New Jersey resident who drowned after accidentally driving his van off a parking lot and boat ramp known as the Cos Cob Town Marina.
The town of Greenwich owned and controlled the parking lot and boat ramp, so the case hinged on municipal liability, said plaintiff attorney Frank Bartlett Jr., founder of Bartlett Legal Group.
 
The town argued the only remedy was for the plaintiff to sue under the state’s highway defects statute, under Section 13a-149, which governs damages for injuries from defective roads and bridges.
Bartlett said his team investigated the history of the marina and learned that in the 1960s and 1970s, the marina had barriers that would have prevented the plaintiff decedent Patrick Conroy from going into the water. An amended lawsuit was filed Aug. 6. The incident at the boat ramp occurred in September 2015.
 
“We had to be creative because of municipal liability,” Bartlett said. “Because this marina was adjacent to the roadway, the town argued the sole remedy available for us was the highway defects statute. But it’s difficult to win under that statute because you have to show the dangerous condition was the sole proximate cause of the injury sustained. If the plaintiff is even 1% negligent, then the claim fails.” It’s not clear why Conroy, who was attempting to negotiate a turn, drove into the water.
Bartlett said he rejected using the statute as a defense and instead learned, through his investigation, of the barriers that were in place at the marina in the 1960s and 1970s. Bartlett said he would have argued to a jury that Greenwich was negligent in removing those barriers decades ago.
“The sole issue for us was going to be whether or not the marina constituted a nuisance, and whether the town’s act in removing the barriers contributed to this accident,” Bartlett said Monday.
The case settled Dec. 5. Jury selection was slated for Dec. 18.
Greenwich Assistant Town Attorney Aamina Ahmad told the Connecticut Law Tribune Monday that the town is considering placing barriers at the site. She also said that “over the course of the litigation, both sides spent a lot of money defending the case.”
Noting that Bartlett originally filed a $6.5 million offer of compromise, Ahmad said, “There was a significant reduction from what they first asked for to where we ended up. I think the plaintiff had started out with a much higher expectation. The town takes these cases very seriously and fully vets them.”
The $600,000 settlement, Bartlett said, will be divided. He said $180,000 will go to the estate, while $420,000 will go to the plaintiff’s family members who were at the marina and witnessed the drowning. These witnesses included Conroy’s son, John, John Conroy’s wife and four of Patrick Conroy’s grandchildren.
The family, Bartlett said, had just dropped their boat off at the marina and Patrick Conroy was attempting to bring the family vehicle to the parking area. Patrick Conroy was trapped in his vehicle and drowned, Bartlett said.
In court papers, the town argued that Conroy was partly responsible for his own death in that he “failed to be watchful of his surroundings, failed to exercise reasonable care for his safety in the manner in which he was operating his vehicle.”
 
Courtesy of the Connecticut Law Tribune
 
 

CT Law Tribune Personal Injury Lawyer Article

$1.2M Settlement for Hartford Man Who Lay Undiscovered for 8 Hours After Fall

Hartford Superior Court

Cheshire attorney Frank Bartlett Jr. has secured a $1.2 million settlement for Hartford resident Tommie Buchanon, who was left a quadriplegic following a fall on construction debris on the stairs of an apartment complex.

By Robert Storace | August 12, 2019 at 03:12 PM

Hartford Superior Court.
A Cheshire attorney has secured a $1.2 million settlement for a 62-year-old man who became a quadriplegic after slipping and falling on an accumulation of construction debris on a stairway.
Attorney Frank Bartlett Jr. reached the settlement with three defendants in April, and the Probate Court approved the deal Aug. 6.

According to Bartlett, owner of Bartlett Legal Group, and the second amended complaint, plaintiff Tommie Buchanon was on a stairwell at a small apartment complex on Collins Street in Hartford in November 2014 when the incident occurred.
Bartlett said Buchanon, a Hartford resident who was visiting his cousin at the complex, “slipped and fell backwards on the debris on the stairs. He stood up and attempted to grab the railing, but there was a curve in the railing that put the railing right up against the wall where he could not grasp it.” Buchanon then fell forward about 12 steps before striking his forehead and left shoulder, his attorney told the Connecticut Law Tribune on Monday.

Buchanon was lying on the ground for eight hours until 2 a.m. when a resident found him. He was rushed to the hospital in an attempt to repair the spinal cord injury to his neck, Bartlett said.
At issue during the two mediation sessions was how much alcohol Buchanon had consumed prior to his fall.
Test results showed Buchanon’s blood alcohol level when he was found was 0.015, which is less than the 0.08 legal limit in Connecticut. But defense attorneys argued it would have been higher eight hours earlier, suggesting the plaintiff was legally drunk at the time of the fall. They placed it at between 0.12 and 0.25 at the time of the fall.

The plaintiff’s side disagreed, presenting witnesses who said Buchanon had consumed one to two beers prior to the incident, and there was no evidence he was drunk.
“The toxicologist retained by us said that his blood alcohol levels were so low that it could not be calculated at a reasonable degree of accuracy what his blood alcohol level was when he fell,” Bartlett said.
Counsel for the property manager, owner and contractor raised several other arguments, including claims Buchanon had failed to keep a proper lookout, had not watched where he was stepping, and had worn improper footwear.
In the end, plaintiffs counsel called the settlement “a fair resolution,” and said his team set up a trust for Buchanon with the settlement funds.
Bartlett said Buchanon’s medical expenses to date are about $710,000, with future life-care costs expected to be between $2 million and $3 million.
Of the $1.2 million settlement, $500,000 came from State Farm Insurance, the carrier for defendant J & A Equities LLC, which was the property owner. State Farm also paid an additional $300,000 for an another client, defendant North Hills Equities Inc., which managed the property. Another carrier, National Grange Mutual Insurance Co., paid $400,000 for its client, defendant R & F Construction LLC, the contractor that the city of Hartford had hired to clean the apartment building.
Hartford was not a defendant, because plaintiffs counsel predicted sovereign immunity laws would shield it from liability.
Three other defendants—sister companies Imagineers LLC, Imagineers Property Management LLC and Imagineers Holdings LLC—reached a confidential settlement with Buchanon. The city of Hartford retained the entities to inspect the property prior to it being accepted for Section 8 housing.
J & A Equities and North Hill Equities’ attorney, Brian Frank of Penino & Moynihan in Danbury, declined to comment. And R & F Construction’s counsel, Sarah Christie of Hassett & Donnelly in Hartford, did not respond to a request for comment.

Family of Boy Abused by Branford Businessman Settles for $1,500,000

Published 8:43 pm EST, Monday, February 25, 2019. Greenwich Time, New Haven Register, CT Law Tribune.

“BRANFORD — The family of a young boy sexually assaulted by the former owner of a Branford graphics company over a two-year period has reached a $1.5 million settlement with the perpetrator, according to the Connecticut Law Tribune.” “The family’s attorney, Frank Bartlett of Cheshire-based Bartlett Legal Group, told the Law Tribune that the boy’s father worked for Guay at K&G Graphics and the boy, who was 8 years old when the abuse began in 2014, often would accompany his father to work.”

The entire article can be found here

https://www.greenwichtime.com/metro/article/Family-of-boy-abused-by-former-Branford-13644369.php

8/28/2015 Respected Wrongful Death and Personal Injury Attorney Frank Bartlett quoted concerning
Status of Fetus at Issue in Wrongful Death Case.

Judge says wrongful death suit can proceed even if baby isn’t viable

Michelle Tuccitto Sullo, The Connecticut Law Tribune
August 28, 2015

Frank Bartlett of Bartlett Legal Group in Cheshire, who was not involved in this case but has handled many other personal injury cases, called Kamp’s ruling a “significant and well-reasoned” decision that allows a plaintiff to move forward in a case in which a child was born and later died. He said the law in this area is likely to change. “While in this case viability was not the determining factor because the child was born as opposed to dying in utero, medical advances are changing the line of viability,” Bartlett said, noting there have been rare cases in which children born before 22 weeks have survived.

Read more: https://www.law.com/ctlawtribune

 

10/1/2014 Attorney Bartlett selected to CT Law Tribune’s “2014 New Leaders in the Law”.

 

6/27/2014 CT Law Tribune -Bartlett wins $2,750,000 verdict in an adult victim of childhood sexual abuse case

 

9/20/2013 Below is TV coverage of Attorney Frank Bartlett before the CT Supreme Court in Wood v. Club LLC.

His arguments start 30 minutes 20 seconds into the video. Click on the photo below to view the video. After watching the video click here for the Supreme Court’s Ruling.

Coming up next Supreme Court oral arguments in Patrick Woods v. Club LLC. et al.

 

02/22/2012 WVIT 30 Boy Scout Molestation Case brought on behalf of clients by Frank Bartlett

Former Boy Scouts Allege Sex Abuse

02/21/2012 News conference at the Omni Hotel in New Haven.  Covered by local TV stations

Attorney Frank Bartlett of Cheshire and Kelly Clark of Portland, Oregon announce a lawsuit against the Boy Scouts of America and the Connecticut Yankee Council of the Boy Scouts saying they knew or should have known that convicted abuser David “Dirk” Davenport had molested boys in Montana and Nebraska prior to his activities in Connecticut.