Construction Worker’s Fall To His Death In Elevator Shaft Brings $1.5 Million Settlement.
Brian Millett got a phone call at 6PM on July 31, 2008 to do a quick welding job at the Hampton Inn in Enfield. Millett moonlighted as a self-employed welder when not working as an inspector for a commercial construction company. A construction supervisor for Benderson Development Company, the general contractor for the hotel, told him in that phone call there was a steel bracket that needed to be welded in an elevator shaft as it was just determined that it had not been done by the steel subcontractor and was necessary for Schindler Elevator Company to continue installing the elevators the next day. Millett interrupted his dinner with his wife Lisa and headed out to the construction site from his home in Dayville.
Millett was led to the fifth floor by the supervisor when he arrived and shown where the small bracket was to be welded. The supervisor then left Millett alone to do the weld. The lighting was poor in the elevator shaft and a 4’x8’ plywood sheet had been placed across the shaft by Schindler employees with a 4 foot gap on one side exposing a 50 foot drop to the concrete floor below. A Benderson employee had place a ladder on the 4’x8’ platform so that Millett could reach the spot he needed to weld.
A short time later, the Benderson supervisor heard a crash and discovered that Millett had fallen five stories through the 4 foot opening, landing on the concrete floor. It became apparent Millett had completed the welding job and was leaving the platform when he fell to his death.
Brian Millett was 59 years old and had an annual income of about $50,000.00 a year. His economic losses were estimated by Dr. Gary Crakes at between $650,000 to $800,000 dollars. The defense expert claimed Millett’s economic losses amount to only $150,000 dollars. While Millett moaned briefly, he quickly became unconscious and died before reaching the hospital.
The wrongful death case was referred by Atty. Paul Kaplan of the Plainfield firm of Kaplan and Brennan to The Reardon Law Firm, P.C. of New London. Attorney Bob Reardon and Attorney Joseph Barnes worked on the case for nearly 5 years, retaining Daniel Paine, a safety expert and Patrick McPartland as an elevator expert. Five days before jury selection was to begin in Waterbury Superior Court before Judge Salvadore Agati, the case was successfully mediated by Judge William Bright to a settlement of $1,000,000 for the wrongful death of Brian Millett and $500,000 for the loss of consortium of his wife, Lisa Millett.
Benderson was represented by James Geanuracos of the firm of Malliet and Geanuracos, LLC. Schindler was represented by Frank Usseglio of the firm of Kenny, O’Keefe & Usseglio, P.C.
“Brian Millett was highly regarded by his co-workers and will be missed by his lovely wife, Lisa. He was willing to respond when Benderson and Schindler needed immediate assistance to do a small welding job after hours for a few hundred dollars and met with his untimely death due to the complete disregard of basic safety precautions by these contractors. Lisa Millett is pleased that she can finally have some closure through this settlement after many years of litigation. Attorneys Joe Barnes, Paul Kaplan and I were so pleased to help out this nice woman.” according to Atty. Bob Reardon of The Reardon Law Firm of New London.