Awaiting Landmark Settlement in Big Dig Wrongful Death Case

Followers of the law are awaiting news on a landmark settlement in the Big Dig ceiling collapse case involving the wrongful death case of Milena Del Valle. Lawyers argue that the limit on punitive damages is not strict and that the punishment has to be enormous for the companies involved to suffer significant pain, according to a Boston Globe report: Lawyers eye huge Big Dig settlement.

The article states:
Punitive damages in the hundreds of millions would be unprecedented in Massachusetts, where large jury awards are rare. In one of the biggest cases ever, a Suffolk County jury in 2000 awarded $27.5 million to the estate of a Russian immigrant who suffocated beneath a Green Line trolley as an MBTA rescue effort disintegrated into "a tragedy of errors." A judge later reduced the penalty to $1 million, arguing that the MBTA was only careless and did not intend to harm the man.
Renowned Boston medical malpractice lawyer Andrew Meyer was asked to comment in the article. He says: "There haven't been large punitive damage awards in Massachusetts," but acknowledged that could surely change if there is the ability to prove "gross negligence." There is a great video clip of Meyer, discussing this topic on his law firm's web site. It is a partial clip of his appearance on Greater Boston with Emily Rooney. Check it out for more about the ins and outs of how such a settlement might work.

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