Wallingford Man Awarded $2.7M in Lawsuit Against StateRecord-Journal
Laurie Rich Salerno
July 30, 2012
A Wallingford resident was awarded $2.7 million in damages Monday for a 2008 highway accident that his lawyers say left him permanently disabled, though lawyers for the other side say they plan to appeal the ruling.
David Tremper, 54, and the estate of Modesto Palafox Munoz, who died in the accident, were together awarded $6.7 million by a jury at New Haven Superior Court, according to Tremper’s lawyers, Stratton Faxon of New Haven.
“Mr. Tremper was both relieved and pleased and gratified that the jury recognized that the State of Connecticut was at least partially at fault,” said Timothy Pothin, who represented Tremper. Tremper fielded press requests through his lawyer Monday.
A state DOT spokesman said the state will appeal the ruling, believing that only the truck driver was at fault.
“We respectfully disagree with the decision and firmly believe there was no fault or negligence on behalf of the Connecticut DOT,” said DOT spokesman Kevin Nursick. “We are optimistic this will become apparent pending potential appeal.”
The accident occurred on Sept. 2, 2008, on Interstate 95 in Orange, near exit 41, according to a complaint filed by Tremper’s lawyers in New Haven Court.
Munoz, and Tremper behind him, were driving in a lane where a DOT truck had stopped. The document said the truck stopping, caused “a chain reaction of collisions” by not properly signaling or positioning the vehicle. DOT lawyers contest this, saying the driver acted as he should.
Tremper and Munoz reportedly were struck from behind by the tractor-trailer operated by Clifford.
Munoz, a laborer from Mexico, died in the crash, while Tremper reportedly received injuries to his chest and serious fractures to his right leg. The injuries have required four surgeries to place rods and plates inside the leg, according to Tremper’s lawyer.
“He walks with a limp. He is in pain every minute of the day — and if he wakes up at night, he is in pain,” Pothin said.
Tremper is a lifelong resident of Wallingford. His family owned Fairview Farm, a dairy operation on Woodhouse Avenue, that they operated until 1986.
Prior to the accident, Tremper worked for 21 years as a full-time landscaping foreman for Frank Geiger landscaping in Fairfield County, according to his lawyer.
He is no longer able to do that work, Pothin said, since the accident, and now spends much of his time at home in Wallingford.
Information from The Associated Press was included in this report.