Recent Lawsuits & Settlements | Middletown CT Law Service

134 Washington St.

Middletown, CT

Attorneys and Counselors at Law

Fortuna & Cartelli P.C.

Fortuna & Cartelli PC



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  • Driver of a tandem tractor trailer truck hit a tree that had fallen off a large flat bed delivery truck onto Interstate 95. Injuries to back, neck, and post concussion complications. Case involved complex workers' compensation claim as well as a lawsuit for negligence. Multiple out of state individuals named as defendants in case. Lawsuit resolved by settlement with insurance company for $745,000.00

  • Client was hit by a drunk driver traveling at very high speeds causing client to suffer neck, back, and bilateral shoulder injuries. Case involved complex workers' compensation claim as well as a lawsuit for negligence. Lawsuit resolved through judicial mediation for $625,000.00

  • Client was hit head on by a school bus causing him to suffer multiple injuries including neck strain and damage to internal organs. Lawsuit resolved through judicial mediation for $390,000.00

  • Client rear ended by a driver who fled the scene of accident. At fault driver forced to appear at a deposition to testify. At the deposition he admitted being the driver of the at-fault automobile. Case involved complex workers' compensation claim as well as a lawsuit for negligence. Lawsuit resolved for $225,000.00

Recent lawsuits and settlements


  • State Police Cruiser being driven in a reckless and unlawful manner causing client's disabling back and neck injuries;

  • Neighbor's German Shepard chasing 15-year-old boy and causing multiple broken bones in child's arm;

  • Driver's illegal left turn in front of client's motorcycle resulting in client being thrown to pavement and causing life threatening brain injuries, broken legs, severe scarring and leaving client with 55% permanent disability;

  • Commercial truck being driven in wrong direction on an exit ramp hitting car occupied by 7 year old client and her siblings. Client suffered multiple broken bones in leg;

  • Teacher sexually assaulting student client;

  • Poorly maintained road causes car to hit tree, burst into flames and kill three high school students. One client was killed and one client injured;

  • Collapse of staircase causes client construction worker to fall 20' and break multiple bones in leg, foot and ankle; resulting in 31% permanent disability to foot and ankle;

  • State of Connecticut maintenance truck rear-ends car being driven by client causing disabling back and neck injuries;

  • Improperly protected storm drain causes 10-year-old bicyclist to crash into storm drain ditch and nearly sever his arm;

  • Jogger trips on defective city sidewalk and suffers disabling traumatic brain injury;

  • Driver's illegal left turn causes crash with bicyclist resulting in serious knee injury to client leaving him with a permanent disability;

  • Inadequate fencing of cliff over river causes client to fall from cliff onto rocks below;

  • Tractor-trailer hits client's vehicle head on. Client suffers broken wrist/hand and develops severe keloid scarring of the wrist.

Other personal injury cases of interest which were successfully handled by Attorney Thomas Cartelli include cases where his clients were injured as a result of:

Representative Cases:Pattavina v. Mills, 2000 WL 1626960 (Conn.Super. 2000), Verdict: $1,100,000

MIDDLETOWN - A superior Court judge has awarded $1.1 million to a severely retarded Middletown man who claimed he was repeatedly abused at a state-run group home five years ago.


In a sweeping decision that could affect the parents of mentally retarded individuals for years to come, Judge James M. Higgins also found that the parents of Steven Pattavina should also be compensated for the pain and anguish they suffered upon learning of their son;s abuse.

The ruling sets a precedent in Connecticut because for the first time a judge has agreed that parents can receive damages even if they do not witness the abuse of their mentally retarded child, said MIddletown lawyer Thomas Cartelli, who spent most of the past four years pursuing the case for Pattavina family. It was on May 5th, that Cartelli received a call form Emmanuel and Connie Pattavina, who had just learned from television news broadcast that their son, Steven, who was 34 at the time, had been severely abused by two state employees at a group home in Norwich.


From the time he was placed at the Cuprak Road Group Home in December 1993 to the time allegations of abuse surfaced in July 1995, Steven Pattavina was punched, kicked in the groin, hit in the head with a ball-peen hammer, hung by his ankles over an open stairwell, had his fingers bent back until he screamed in pain and was choked until he became unconscious, according to Cartelli and counsel Paul A. Morello of Cromwell. "It shocks the conscience to know that in this day and age, this type of abuse can happen in the state of Connecticut, " Cartelli said.

Pattavina's lawyers described their client as the perfect victim. Transferred to state care at age 3, Steven Pattavina is profoundly retarded, physically difficult to control and supervise and unable to communicate verbally.

Higgin's decision was released late Wednesday afternoon.

The Cuprak Road Group Home is operated by the state Department of Mental Retardation.

Contacted Thursday, Peter O'Meara,

the department's commissioner, said he had not seen Higgin's decision and therefore could not comment on it.The department was represented by lawyers from the state attorney general's office Maura Fitzgerald, a spokeswoman for the attorney's office, said the office had no comment on the decision because staff members there also had not seen it.


During a three-week trial in Middletown Superior Court earlier this year, witnesses claimed that William J. Mills, a supervisor at the group home, and Dale "Jesse" Swett, a mental retardation worker assigned to care for Pattavina, were responsible fro the abuse.

It was also revealed during the trail that both Mills and Swett had lied about not having a criminal record in their job applications with the state and that both had been reprimanded previously for mistreating clients in their care.


Emmanuel and Connie Pattavina who continue to visit their son weekly , said they noticed their son's bruises and unusual behavior at the time he was in the home but said they believed the staff's explanations that their son had fallen or accidentally hurt himself.

Despite Pattavina's fragile mental state and potential susceptibility as a victim while staying in the group home, he remianed at the home for more than three years after the abuse was investigated, his lawyers said.

He is now living in a state-run group home in Montville.


The Pattavina's civil suit named the State Department of Mental Retardation, Mills and Swett as defendants.

Mills resigned shortly after the abuse was reported in 1995. He was most recently working at a state correctional center in Cheshire, according to 1999 state payroll records. He could not be reached fro comment Thursday.

Swett was fired by the state Department of mental Retardation on Aug.10, 1999, after a formal investigation. Swett's lawyer, Benjamin Massa of Hartford, declined to comment, saying he had not seen the judge's decision.

Judge Awards $1.1 Million To Abuse Victim

by Colin Poitras / Courant Staff Writer

Friday, August 25, 2000


Attorney Thomas Cartelli wins Pattavina v Mills,

Verdict $1,100,000.00

A recent case handled by Attorney Thomas Cartelli made headlines in Lawyers Weekly USA, a nationally circulated publication that focuses on newsworthy jury verdicts and court judgments occurring throughout the United States. Attorney Cartelli represented a mentally disabled man and his parents in a lawsuit filed against the State of Connecticut and employees of the Department of Mental Retardation... The trial of the case resulted in a $1.1 million dollar judgment on behalf of a disabled man and his parents.

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