Helping our clients and the community is important to us.
Read about our results and news items below. See how Faulkner & Graves delivers results to clients and gives back to the community.
We are proud of our accomplishments.
Faulkner and Graves' efforts on behalf of five clients whose homes in Salem had been attacked resulted in a settlement for $1,325,000.00.
A person’s home is supposed to be a safe sanctuary. But when that sanctuary is threatened by an intruder, it may never feel the same again. In 2015, five Salem residents experienced the trauma of an attempted home invasion perpetrated by a mentally unstable resident of a nearby group home. The resident left the home after an argument with a staff member and woke the victims up in the middle of the night, terrorizing them and smashing their windows. One victim fled to a neighbor’s house and in so doing, injured herself in a fall. Later the suspect told police he wanted to kill the homeowners, one of whom was pregnant. Fortunately, no one was attacked in the incident but nevertheless, it left major emotional scars.
We claimed that the group home was negligent and at fault. The evidence secured by Faulkner and Graves showed that the agency knew of their resident’s violent past and should have never allowed him to live there. The perpetrator had attempted an invasion before when he was at another group home. In fact the criminal charges were pending from that previous event when he was accepted at the Salem home.
Our law firm hired an expert in group home management who reviewed all of the home’s records and was prepared to testify in support of our claims. To help demonstrate the compelling stories our clients had we made videos that would recreate the evening’s events and express not only how they feared for their lives, but how they have been traumatized by the lingering emotional and physical effects of that terrible night.
Attorney Faulkner, interviewed by the Connecticut Law Tribune, explained: "Our objective in videoing their story was to persuade the insurance company to pay what was reasonable for this horrifying ordeal, but there were also ancillary benefits to the videotaped interviews. By recording each client’s experience within a few months of the attack, we were able to cover all the details that might have been forgotten with the passage of time. It was also the first time the victims had been able to fully tell their stories to interested and involved professionals. It showed that someone cared about what they went through.”
Settlement for over $1.3 million dollars was reached after a lengthy mediation conducted by retired Judge Michael Riley. All five of clients were happy that the case was able to be settled without a trial. They did not want to testify in Court and relive that terrible night.
$8.9 Million Dollar Verdict – I-95 Truck Accident, East Lyme
After a 3 week long jury trial in Hartford, Attorney Shelley Graves secured a judgment for $8.9 million dollars for her 27 year old client. He was severely injured when an oil tanker truck crossed over the median of I-95 in East Lyme into oncoming traffic and struck the tractor trailer truck that our client was driving. The collision also resulted in the death of two other motorists. At trial, Graves proved that the tanker truck was being operated negligently and recklessly and that the defendant oil company failed to properly maintain the oil tanker truck. The oil company had let the truck out onto the highways in an unsafe mechanical condition.
Our client suffered head injuries, internal bleeding and trauma, multiple fractures to both legs and feet, disc herniations to his back and neck and post-traumatic stress. He required multiple surgeries and intensive treatment and rehabilitation over the years that followed. The chronic pain and orthopedic disabilities that he now suffers from are permanent and they have further left him disabled from returning to employment driving commercial trucks.
As a result of this multi-million dollar verdict, Graves was named to the Connecticut Law Tribune's Personal Injury Hall of Fame for the category of Motor Vehicle Verdicts and Settlements.
Faulkner and Graves successfully negotiated a settlement for the family of an Old Saybrook woman, who died from her injuries after a crash with a tractor-trailer in 2017. The woman, who was 40-years-old, was a passenger in a car that was turning onto Berlin Turnpike when it was struck by an 18-wheeler Mack truck. A crash investigation determined that the driver of the tractor-trailer failed to stop at a red light at the intersection.
Faulkner and Graves Attorneys filed the lawsuit against the driver and his employer, as well as the owner of the trailer. The settlement was reached following two mediation sessions conducted by retired Judge Antonio Robaina, agreeing to resolve the case for $3.8 million.
$960,000 Settlement – Permanent Loss of Vision, Negligence at Body Shop
Attorney Kevin Smith secured a $960,000 settlement for a 26 year old client who lost the use of his right eye at a body shop in East Lyme. The client was not an employee of the garage, but while there, the owner asked him to help dislodge a hitch from a truck in the garage bay. At the owner's direction, the client struck the hitch with a sledgehammer, and a shard of hot burning metal shot into his right eye.
The young clients's eye injury included tears of the retina, rupture of the globe, and hemorrhages. He underwent four surgeries within three months, but his vision was permanently lost.
Smith held the body shop accountable for negligently asking the young client to assist and after doing that, failing to provide required safety glasses for the task at hand.
Shelley Graves named Best Lawyers 2020 "Lawyer of the Year" Award by peers – 5th time Faulkner & Graves lawyers have received this coveted honor.
Attorney Shelley Graves has been named Best Lawyers 2020 "Lawyer of the Year" for New London County in the field of Personal Injury Litigation - Plaintiffs. This designation is awarded to one lawyer per legal community for having received the highest ratings among their peers for their abilities, professionalism and integrity. She and her partner Dale Faulkner have together received this award five times. Faulkner in 2011 and 2012, Graves in 2016, 2018 and 2020.
Confidential Settlement Reached for Drowning Death of 19 year old Montville Woman in Ocean Beach Park Pool
Attorneys Shelley Graves successfully negotiated a settlement for the family of Lobsang Dolma, a 19 year old woman who died while swimming in the lifeguard manned Olympic size swimming pool at Ocean Beach Park. A lawsuit was brought against the operator of the park, Boston Culinary Group, and against the City of New London, its owner. Multiple depositions were taken in order to gather the evidence needed to show that the lifeguards on duty were distracted and negligently failed to scan the waters as they were trained to do. Expert witnesses were retained to substantiate that Lobsang was submerged and drowning in the pool in front of the lifeguards unnoticed for more than 5 minutes.
Lobsang was Montville high school graduate and entering her second year of college at the time of her death. Her family, teachers and friends were prepared to testify to what a beautiful, smart, joyful and sweet person Lobsang Dolma was, with a bright future ahead of her. As is often needed in a wrongful death case, our law firm also secured an economist to provide expert testimony that based on her education and her intent to go into the accounting field, Lobsang would likely have earned over 2 million dollars during the course of her life.
Faulkner and Graves Attorneys obtained a $3.2 million dollar jury verdict in New London Superior Court for a car crash victim. Our client was a 45-year-old truck driver hit head-on while driving on Route 32 in Norwich. He suffered multiple fractures in his hips and legs resulting in long term hospitalization, surgeries, severe disability and an impairment of his earning ability. The jury also awarded monies to his wife for her loss of consortium with her husband.
Kevin Smith Wins Appeal filed in the Connecticut Appellate Court in Fall Down Case
Attorney Kevin Smith was recently successful in an appeal filed in the Connecticut Appellate Court in the matter of Carrico v. Mill Rock Leasing, LLC, 199 Conn. App. 252, 235 A.3d 626 (2020). In that case, our client fell on ice in a commercial property in Old Saybrook and was seriously injured. The trial court granted the snow plow contractor's motion for summary judgment effectively dismissing the claim on the ground that the contractor did not possess or control the property where our client fell, and therefore, it owed no duty of care to our client.
On appeal, Smith argued that the alleged duty owed by the snow plow contractor arose from the snow services contract that it had with the owner of the commercial property. Thus, he argued that the cause of action alleged against the contractor was an ordinary negligence claim, not a premises liability action, and therefore, there was no requirement that the contractor possess and control the property.
The Appellate Court agreed and reversed the decision of the trial court.
The decision can be found here: https://www.jud.ct.gov//external/supapp/Cases/AROap/AP199/199AP318.pdf
$1.2 Million Dollar Settlement – Lack of Railing results in Wheelchair Fall – Facial Fractures
Attorney Faulkner recovered 1.2 million dollars in the settlement of a lawsuit for a Salem man injured when his wheelchair fell from an elevated sidewalk at a strip mall in Norwich. Rita and Tim Grant sued the owner of the property on behalf of their 23 year-old son who suffers from cerebral palsy and is wheelchair bound.
The fall occurred when Rita Grant was attempting to bring her son to a barbershop located at the strip mall. Near the barbershop door an elderly woman asked Rita for help in opening the door. Rita turned to help, removing her hand from the wheelchair. When she turned back, the wheelchair had rolled to the end of the sidewalk and had fallen more than 3 feet to the dirt area below. The absence of a railing at the end of the walkway was a violation of the Connecticut Building Code. Photographs showed that a railing had been at the site at some point before the accident.
Tony Grant suffered fractures of multiple facial bones, the loss of four front teeth, part of the jawbone, and many cuts and bruises. Shortly after his arrival to Backus Hospital in Norwich, he was taken by life star helicopter to Hartford Hospital where he spent seven days. There, he had surgery on his face during which metal plates and screws were installed. While in the hospital, he had a grand mal seizure. After discharge, he underwent extensive treatment for a bed sore. His medical bills were just over $100,000.00.
A critical, significant ruling eliminated the property owners’ claim that the mother was at fault for her son’s injuries. Superior Court Judge Emmet Cosgrove struck the defendant’s apportionment complaint concluding that the defense could not stand because she was immune from liability for her son’s accident under the rule of parental immunity. The rule is usually confined to children, but Judge Cosgrove found that Tony, even though he was 23, was essentially a child because of his medical, intellectual problems and needs such that his mother should be protected from blame by this rule of immunity. The rule of parental immunity is meant to protect the harmony of the family.
Attorney Faulkner was able to obtain a settlement for 1.2 million dollars after two full days of mediation. His parents were planning to use the monies to have a handicapped bathroom and an in-door pool installed which will provide Tony great therapeutic benefit given his wheelchair confinement.
$605,000 Settlement – Auto Accident - Traumatic Brain Injury & PTSD
A federal lawsuit brought by Attorney Graves on behalf of a truck driver resulted in a total settlement of the claim in the amount of $605,000.00. Our client was operating a flatbed truck in the course of his employment when an elderly woman ran a stop sign causing the two vehicles to collide. The elderly woman was killed in the accident and our client suffered a mild traumatic brain injury and a posttraumatic stress disorder. The brain injury caused the plaintiff to have difficulty regulating his emotions as well as a tremor in one of his arms. Recoveries were made from both the at fault driver's automobile insurance carrier as well as the underinsured motorist policy of the plaintiff's employer.
Boating Accident – Death of East Haddam Man
The Faulkner and Graves firm successfully resolved a negligence case arising out of a fatal boating accident involving a 33-year-old East Haddam man. Our firm represented the estate of the man who died in the boating accident.
The East Haddam man was a passenger in a boat in the waters of Mumford Cove. The boat began to take on water and capsized. The man was thrown into the water where he sustained fatal injuries, including cardiac arrest and cold water drowning. In the lawsuit, Faulkner and Graves Attorneys alleged, among other things, that the operator of the boat failed to assure that the passengers were wearing adequate flotation devices. A confidential settlement was reached.
$287,500 Settlement – United States Postal Truck Runs Over Man
After our client saw the mail truck deliver his mail and drive away, he walked out of his house, down the sidewalk, and crossed the street to his box. His next memory is three days later in the hospital. We developed evidence that the driver of the mail truck realized after driving away that he had forgotten to deliver an item. Rather than turning around and approaching the boxes again, the mailman threw the postal truck in reverse and ran down our client.
On impact the client was knocked to the ground and was, partially, run over by the truck. He sustained multiple injuries including a concussion, a fracture of the nose, fractures of five ribs and lung collapse requiring surgery. He remained in the hospital for eight days. He had short-term memory loss in addition to having no recollection of the accident. His medical bills approached $60,000.00.
We brought suit under the Federal Torts Claim Act, which controls litigation against the United States and its agencies.
During discovery, the government admitted liability but the government was resistant to paying our opinion of fair value. Their defense was based on what they thought was a relatively quick and essentially complete recovery by the plaintiff from his injuries. What they failed to recognize was the agonizing nature of those injuries during that time period and the horror of the accident itself – namely the violent striking of the man’s body without warning by the mail truck, being impacted by the truck a second time, and then being hurled onto the road and knocked unconscious. Ultimately, our persistence and persuasive presentation of the plaintiff’s damages prevailed. Faulkner & Graves was able to settle the case against the United States, acting for the Post Office, for $287,500.00.
$350,000 Jury Verdict – Malpractice – Pharmacy Prescription Error Injures Child
A jury in Putnam awarded a toddler and her parents $350,000.00 as a result of a drug store's error in providing her Prozac, an anti-depressant, instead of Prilosec, a medication for stomach upset. The jury of four women and two men awarded our one year old client $250,000.00 for the illness she suffered and an additional $50,000.00 to each of her parents for their emotional distress.
A woman brought her employer's van to a car dealer for an oil change. When the job was completed, she drove off, believing that the vehicle was safe. However, while driving on the Interstate, just a few miles from the dealer, the hood popped open and crashed into the windshield. Even though her vision was nearly totally obscured, she managed to drive the van into the breakdown lane without hitting another vehicle. In responding to the encroaching windshield she braced her arm and foot so forcefully that she was injured.
Our firm on behalf of the woman, established that the hood was not properly latched by the dealer's technician at the end of the oil change. Medical testimony confirmed that she injured her arm, requiring ulnar nerve surgery, and that she also injured her back and neck. The defendant made a settlement offer before trial of $280,000.
$139,938.17 Jury Verdict – ATV Roll Over – Fracture of Leg
The Faulkner and Graves firm secured a $139,938.17 jury verdict for a 17-year-old client, who was injured in an ATV accident while attending an after prom party at a friend's home. The friend's parents hosted the party and allowed their son and his friends to ride ATVs on their property. Our client was riding on the back of an ATV, which was being operated by an inexperienced driver. The ATV flipped, causing our client to fracture her leg.
A lawsuit was brought against the parents for negligent supervision, along with failing to instruct their guests on how to ride ATVs. The insurance company for the parents aggressively defended the case and it was tried to a jury. Our firm hired an expert in ATV safety, who testified to the safety instructions that should have been provided. A New London jury found the parents to be 90% at fault and our client to be 10% at fault. After a reduction of 10% for her negligence, our client was awarded $139,938.17.
$212,500 Settlement – Fall Down – Placement of Electrical Cords in Hair Salon
The plaintiff was a 75 year-old woman attending her regularly scheduled standing appointment at her local franchise hair salon. As she stood up from the stylist's chair, her feet became entangled in electrical cords running in the area of the chair and counter causing her to violently fall to the floor slamming her right shoulder on her way down. These cords were a hazard waiting to happen at this salon.
The plaintiff was rushed to the emergency room and diagnosed with a dislocated right shoulder. Later when she followed with an orthopedic specialist, she was diagnosed with a rotator cuff tear requiring surgical repair. The plaintiff, although older and retired, was very active in her local community and an avid quilter. She made incredible quilts and Santa dolls which she donated to homeless children's shelters and our Troops in Iraq during the holiday season. After her accident, it was difficult and painful for her to quilt and knit.
The Faulkner and Graves firm was able to settled the case for $212,500.00.
$30,000 Verdict – Disputed Liability Car Crash, New London
Attorney Kevin Smith obtained a verdict for a client in the amount of $30,496.48 after a car crash in New London, Connecticut. Our client and the other driver were approaching an intersection from opposite directions. The client intended to drive straight through the intersection and claimed that she had a green light. At the intersection, however, the other driver turned left in front of our client, causing the crash. In contrast to our client's version of what occurred, the other driver claimed that he had a green left-turn only signal at the intersection. In other words, he claimed our client could not have a green light. There were no other witnesses to the accident. Based on the other driver's statement, his insurance company denied liability. A lawsuit was immediately commenced.
The client sustained injuries to her neck and back, and was forced to seek emergency medical treatment and undergo physical therapy. The client incurred $6,479.66 in medical bills and $1,058.62 in lost wages.
Through his investigation and by challenging the inconsistencies in the other driver's statements, Smith successfully proved at trial in the New London Superior Court that our client had the green light at the intersection and that the other driver failed to yield the right-of-way to our client and negligently turned left at the intersection. A verdict was rendered in the amount of $30,496.48.
Six Figure Confidential Settlement – Restaurant Patron Drinks Toxic Chemical Left In Beer Tap Line
A woman who was served a beer at a Mystic restaurant became violently ill. It quickly became apparent that the tap had not been purged of the poisonous cleaning agent. Parts of her larynx, esophagus and stomach were burned. Even though she made a good recovery, Attorney Faulkner was able to settle her case at mediation for a sum in the high six figures. (A confidentiality agreement prevents us from providing further details.)
$200,000 Settlement – Middle Schooler Crashes Parents' Utility Vehicle – Eye Injury to Passenger
A middle school boy removed his parents Polaris utility vehicle and took a joyride with a friend. The parents were not home at the time and commonly left the key in the vehicle's ignition. His inexperience operating this recreational vehicle caused him to roll the vehicle resulting in a severe injury to his passenger. Attorney Shelley Graves represented the injured minor who required two surgeries to his eye. The claims were made against the minor driver for his negligence in taking and operating the utility vehicle and against his parents for their negligent failure to properly secure the utility vehicle from unsupervised use by their minor son. A settlement was reached before trial with the homeowner's insurance company for the parents in the amount of $200,000.
$100,000 Settlement (Policy Limits) – Car Accident - Concussion, Tongue Laceration and Multiple Strains
Our client was injured driving to work one morning when another motorist suddenly made an illegal turn in front of her causing a t-bone crash. The victim was employed as a veterinary assistant and she was the mother of three young children, in fact, her youngest was still an infant. She suffered a severe concussion with symptoms lasting many months post accident. During the collision, she bit down so hard that she bit through her tongue and lower lip. Her tongue and lip lacerations required stitches and resulted in scarring. She also suffered contusions to her ribs and knees as well as strains of her neck and back.
Medical bills totaled over $30,000.00 and she was out of work for more then three weeks. Over the year following the accident, she had difficulty lifting and carrying her children, performing certain chores, and she could not participate in many of her favorite past-times, like hiking with her dogs and fishing with her husband. The other driver's automobile insurance liability limits were in the amount of $100,000. Attorney Shelley Graves was able to obtain a prompt settlement of the matter without the need to file a lawsuit by a detailed portrayal of her multiple injuries and losses to the insurance carrier.
$125,000 Settlement – Man Fractures Hip at Mohegan Sun
Kevin Smith secured a $125,000 settlement for a 82 year old client who fractured his left hip at the Mohegan Sun casino. The client tripped and fell on a stage/table skirt draping down from a platform and extending into and upon the concourse in Mohegan Sun. Smith obtained video surveillance of the fall and retained an expert witness who opined, among other things, that the skirt improperly extended into and upon the walking portion of the concourse in violation of the Connecticut Fire Safety Code.
After two days of trial evidence in the Mohegan Gaming Disputes Court, the case ultimately settled before a verdict was rendered for $125,000.
$250,000 Settlement – Fall on Black Ice – Fracture of Ankle
The Faulkner and Graves firm secured a $250,000 settlement for a client who slipped and fell on black ice in the parking lot of her apartment complex. As a result of the fall, our client fractured her right ankle and underwent emergency surgery to insert plates and screws. She subsequently went through the next six weeks recovering in a rehabilitative home.
Notorious Middletown Route 9 Car Crash Case Concludes
The civil case of Heather Specyalski v. Neil Esposito pending on the Complex Litigation Docket in Waterbury concluded by way of a confidential agreement between the parties. The case involved a single car high-speed collision on Route 9 in Cromwell as a result of which Neil Esposito was killed and Heather Specyalski suffered numerous life threatening injuries. The case gained notoriety when the Connecticut State Police reversed their original finding that Esposito was the driver and charged Specyalski with vehicular manslaughter. A lengthy six-week criminal trial ensued. Represented by respected criminal defense attorney Jeremiah Donovan, and her civil counsel Shelley Graves, Ms. Specyalski was acquitted of all charges.
$100,000 Arbitration Award – Rear End Accident – Hernia Repair Disrupted
Our client was a front-seat passenger involved in a rear-end car accident. The impact forcefully threw her body forward and back into her seat. She was taken by ambulance from the scene to the emergency room as she was experiencing abdominal pain. Just 18 days before the accident, our client had a hernia operation and, it was found through CT Scan, that the impact from the accident tore the mesh holding her hernia in place. Subsequently, she had to undergo two additional surgeries to repair the damage caused by the accident.
The defendant's insurance company would not budge from its low offer even with liability being so clear and the court recommending it pay its policy limits of $100K. Through strategic alternative dispute resolution practices, namely a binding arbitration, the Faulkner and Graves firm secured the policy limits for our client in a quick and efficient manner.
DISCLAIMER: We have successfully represented many clients. Of course, your case will be decided on its own facts and we cannot imply that our previous success will result in us winning your case.