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Defective Guardrail Wrongful Death Case Settles For $1.8 Million

The Reardon Law Firm is pleased to report the resolution of a case involving a defective guardrail in Ledyard, Connecticut, that caused the death of a 22-year-old Ledyard man named Brett Drake. Brett was a passenger in a truck driven by his friend on Shewville Road on January 28, 2016 when the vehicle veered slightly off the roadway due to a steep drop off in the pavement and collided with an improperly installed and defective guardrail. The guardrail pierced the truck, traveling through the engine compartment and the firewall of the vehicle, and then entered the right front passenger seat, trapping and impaling Brett’s pelvic region. Although Brett was extracted from the truck with the Jaws of Life and transported by Lifestar helicopter to the hospital, where he received extensive emergency medical treatment, he ultimately succumbed to his injuries and passed away on February 1, 2016.

The guardrail was purchased by the Town of Ledyard and installed by ADF Industries, Inc. sometime in 2001. The lawsuit alleged that the guardrail was defective and had been known to be dangerous and unsafe for use on public roadways since the 1970s. Even at low speeds, the blunt end type guardrail can penetrate a car and has been banned from use by the national highway system. The Plaintiff’s expert testified that using the guardrail is like placing “a knife on the roadside that’s going to cut through a car.”

The Reardon Law Firm, P.C. of New London and Attorney Robert I. Reardon, Jr. represented the Estate of Brett Drake in the lawsuit filed against ADF Industries, Inc., and the Town of Ledyard. The case was mediated by retired Judge Terence Zemetis, who was able to reach a settlement with the defendants, ADF and the Town of Ledyard. ADF paid $1.5 million of the $1.8 million total settlement. Prior to the lawsuit being filed, the Drake family settled their claims against the driver of the truck. “We are pleased we could help the Drake family and bring an end to the tragic ordeal they have experienced,” said Attorney Bob Reardon.