Bartlett Legal Group in the News
Hiring Meteorologist Helped Turn Around Snow Slip-and-Fall
Plaintiff counsel Frank Bartlett Jr. secured the settlement for a man who fell on accumulated ice and snow outside his condo complex.
By Robert Storace | October 26, 2020 at 02:50 PM
At first look, it appeared plaintiff’s attorney Frank Bartlett Jr. had two strikes against him in a case involving a slip-and-fall during a snowstorm, because Connecticut’s ongoing-storm doctrine allowing property managers leeway had come into play. Bartlett, a principal at Bartlett Legal Group in Cheshire, represented New Haven condominium complex tenant William Clark Jr., who fell on accumulated ice and snow on his rear stoop during one of many December 2017 snowstorms. Clark fractured his left ankle and during his recovery sustained a blood clot that traveled to his lungs.
The problem for Bartlett was twofold: There was the doctrine he had to contend with and there was additional defense pushback from the condo owners who said Clark was responsible for clearing condo steps from ice and snow. Under state law, the doctrine allows property managers “reasonable” time after the end of a storm to clear ice and snow. “That was an immediate concern. There is no liability for snow that falls during the storm,” Bartlett said. While some attorneys might have thrown in the towel, Bartlett decided to retain a meteorologist to review the records of the recent weather in the area.
That hiring gave Bartlett an edge, one that allowed him to secure a $400,000 settlement for his client on Oct. 16.“ The meteorologist was able to tell us there were three snowstorms leading up to this event and the property manager hadn’t cleared the snow from those storms. There would have been a layer of ice and then a layer of snow under the freshly fallen snow and that really lined up with our client’s testimony,” Bartlett said Monday. Bartlett continued: “The property owners didn’t clear up after each storm like they were supposed to. ”Then Bartlett had to deal with the contention from defendant condominium association owner Northside Mews Association Inc. that it was Clark’s responsibility to clear his own stoop.
“We did some digging and got a hold of the condo bylaws, which said condo owners have the responsibility to clear snow from balconies and porches. The agreement was silent on the condo owner’s responsibility to clear condo steps. It said nothing on it and so it reverted back to the responsibility of the condo association to clean the steps with salt and sand,” Bartlett said. Bartlett said the tip for fellow personal injury attorneys is to keep your eye on the ball. “Although, at first blush this seemed like an almost impossible liability case, by doing our homework and really researching this, we were able to show this was really a strong liability case,” Bartlett said.
The lawsuit in Clark v. Northside Mews Association and Evergreen Property Management was filed in November 2019. The defendants are the condo association and the property management company, respectively. Bartlett said his 33-year-old client “still has ongoing ankle pain. He was an avid bowler before the accident but now can’t bowl as frequently as he used to.” Clark, a security guard for an industrial complex, incurred $229,000 in medical costs, Bartlett said.
The case was resolved following mediation between Judge James Abrams, Bartlett and defense counsel Matthew Conway of Conway Stoughton in Hartford. Conway didn’t respond to a request for comment Monday.
Bartlett said the $400,000 settlement was fair. “We did have a client who had a favorable recovery and that could have been beneficial to the defense at trial,” Bartlett said.
In court pleadings, the defense said Clark was responsible for his own actions. The papers said Clark “failed to be watchful of his surroundings” and “failed to utilize an exterior overhead light available to him that could illuminate the rear stoop and steps appurtenant to 245 Barnes Avenue.”
Article courtesy of the Connecticut Law Tribune
2 Accidents, 1 Chance to Attribute Injury: How a Cheshire Lawyer Secured a Settlement
Cheshire attorney Frank Bartlett has secured a six-figure settlement for a client who was injured twice in car accidents 20 months apart.
By Robert Storace | September 04, 2020 at 12:24 PM
Dana Loubriel was injured when a motorist rear-ended her Kia Sorento in August 2015. She was also rear-ended 20 months later. She recently received a $113,500 settlement from both accidents, the cases of which were consolidated. Courtesy photo
Plaintiffs attorney Frank Bartlett’s client Dana Loubriel was rear-ended in two separate car accidents 20 months apart and he had to face the dilemma of going to battle against two attorneys who were pointing the fingers at each other for the plaintiff’s injuries.Bartlett, of Bartlett Legal Group, LLC in Cheshire, said the attorney representing the insurance carrier in the August 2015 accident was blaming Loubriel’s head, neck and back injuries on the driver who rear-ended her in the second accident, which occurred in April 2017. And to complicate matters even further, Bartlett said, the attorneys representing the insurance carrier in the April 2017 accident were saying the main injuries Loubriel faced were tied to the first accident.
Bartlett said Loubriel sustained head, neck and back injuries in both accidents. The injuries were exacerbated in the second accident, he said. “Our biggest obstacle was showing which accidents caused which injuries,” Bartlett said Friday.
In an effort to protect their clients from liability, Bartlett said, both defense attorneys were adamant in blaming Loubriel’s injuries on the other party. All sides agreed to consolidate the cases, Bartlett said.
Bartlett ended up getting $113,500 for his client Aug. 27, in part, he said, in using the defendant’s expert in the second accident to his benefit.“There was an orthopedic expert for the defendant in the second car crash saying that my client’s ongoing medical issues were from the first accident,” Bartlett said. “We deposed that expert who did a video deposition so we could use at trial if we had to. The defense expert was saying the plaintiff’s injuries were permanent and caused by the first accident.”“It all worked well for us,” Bartlett said. “I had not only my expert who was saying my client was injured in both accidents, but I had the defense expert for the second accident saying she had ongoing medical issues from the first accident.”That tactic of using a defense expert to his benefit, Bartlett said, enabled him to get the defense attorney in the first accident to more than double his offer.
Loubriel’s deposition testimony, Bartlett said, also helped. “She made a sympathetic witness,” Bartlett said. “She was also pregnant when the second accident happened and that is something a jury would have latched on to.” The accident didn’t affect the pregnancy, Bartlett said.
In the end, Loubriel received $55,000 for the first accident and $58,500 for the second accident. The total package was $113,500. Loubriel, a 40-year-old Meriden resident, never had surgery for her injuries, her attorney said. Bartlett said his client had both chiropractic services and saw an orthopedic doctor.
Representing the Allstate Corp. in the first accident was attorney Courtney Brenton with the Law Offices of Mark S. Gilcreast in Hamden. She didn’t respond to a request for comment Friday.Representing The Travelers Cos. in the second accident was attorney Jeffrey McDonald with Hassett & George in Simsbury. McDonald also didn’t respond to a request for comment.In court pleadings in both rear-end accidents, the defense left it up to the plaintiffs to prove their case.
Article courtesy of The Connecticut Law Tribune.
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
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
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.
Courtesy of the Connecticut Law Tribune
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
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
LAWYER SIDESTEPS MUNICIPAL PROTECTIONS TO SUE GREENWICH OVER MAN’S 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.
$1.2M Settlement for Hartford Man Who Lay Undiscovered for 8 Hours After Fall
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
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.
06/15/2012 Attorney Bartlett quoted in Los Angeles Times about sexual abuse cases against Boy Scouts of America
02/22/2012 WVIT 30 Boy Scout Molestation Case brought on behalf of clients by Frank Bartlett
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.