DRAM SHOP AWARD:
by John Pirro, Staff Writer - Thursday, March 10, 2011
DANBURY -- A lawsuit against a Candlewood Lake bar stemming from a July 2008 drunken boating accident that killed two people and injured two others has been settled without trial.
Lawyers representing Down the Hatch in Brookfield, and three of the victims -- Jason Wanat, Kevin Sullivan and William D'Addio -- agreed to the settlement Tuesday, the day that jury selection in the case had been scheduled to begin in state Superior Court.
Because of a confidentiality agreement, the amount of the settlement was not disclosed. But the state's Dram Shop Act, under which the lawsuit was filed, limits damage awards to $250,000 to be divided among all parties.
Wanat, who was killed, and Sullivan, who was critically injured, were passengers in the speedboat operated by Richard Layton Jr. that collided with D'Addio's bass boat shortly after they left the lake side bar in Brookfield.
Layton, who state Department of Environmental Protection police said had a blood-alcohol level of .19, more than twice the legal limit, was also killed in the crash.
The suit claimed employees of the bar continued to serve Layton alcohol even though he was clearly intoxicated.
"I can't talk about the numbers, but I believe all the parties were satisfied that the matter has been settled," said Danbury attorney David Bennett, who represents Sullivan.
Citing the confidentiality agreement, who represented Wanat's estate, declined to comment other than to confirm the case had been resolved.
Attorneys for D'Addio and Down the Hatch couldn't be reached Wednesday and neither could Scott Parente, permittee at Down the Hatch. The restaurant is closed for the season and two Brookfield telephone numbers listed for Parente weren't in service.
Although D'Addio, Sullivan and the Wanat estate were on the same side during the Danbury case, they are opposing parties in a much larger and more complex lawsuit pending at state Superior Court in Waterbury.
In that case, the Wanat estate and Sullivan are suing D'Addio and more than 70 other defendants, including the Candlewood Lake Authority, members of the Candlewood Lake Patrol, the New York bass fishing club that sponsored the fishing tournament in which D'Addio was a participant when the collision occurred and the municipalities bordering the lake. That case is far from ready for trial, the attorneys said.
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