On the third day of what was scheduled to be a five-day wrongful death trial, the case was resolved Wednesday but no one involved was willing to discuss the details.
The trial in Rutland civil court was based on the death of Lawrence Kaminski, 75, of Wallingford. Kaminski was working as a traffic flagger for Green Mountain Flagging on the side of Route 7 in Middlebury on March 11, 2016, when he was hit and killed by a Eustis Cable Enterprises work truck.
Police said at the time that the utility truck was backing up and Kaminski, who was behind the truck, was struck and killed.
In August 2017, Burlington attorney John Evers and Rutland attorney Neal Vreeland filed a complaint in Rutland civil court on behalf of Kaminski’s wife, Barbara Kaminski, who was the executrix of Kaminski’s estate.
The complaint alleged three reasons for action: negligence on the part of Eustis Cable, Barbara Kaminski’s right to a “survivor’s action” and the wrongful death of Kaminski.
The complaint said there were two Eustis employees in the area when the utility truck began to back up. Both knew that Kaminski was behind the truck and both “failed to ensure that Mr. Kaminski was out of harm’s way before backing up, knowing full well that he was somewhere behind but not visible in the rear-view mirrors.”
Evers and Vreeland accused an unnamed Eustis employee of placing electrical tape on the speaker that sounds an alarm when the truck backs up, “in order to prevent it from operating at normal volume.”
During testimony on Wednesday, John DeBruin, of Mount Tabor, said he was at the worksite on March 11, 2016, and heard the back-up alarm.
But after brief testimony from Christina Lord, human resources director at Green Mountain Flagging, Judge Samuel Hoar ordered a break for lunch. He told jurors the trial would resume around 1:15 p.m.
The attorneys involved did not return to the courtroom until around 1:45 p.m. After a conversation at the judge’s bench with Hoar, Ever, Vreeland and attorney Nick Kosiavelon, the attorneys involved began to pack up their belongings and left the courthouse.
Afterward, Ever said the case had been resolved, but said he couldn’t disclose any more than that.
Barbara Kaminski declined to comment as well.
Kosiavelon said he wasn’t authorized to speak and declined to confirm his name or say whether he was the lead counsel in the case.
A court clerk said Hoar was not expected to return to the courtroom or bring the jury back into court to tell them the case had been resolved in a public setting.
In 2016, Susan Kay, the president of Eustis, told the Rutland Herald that in the company’s 20-year history, there had never been a similar fatal accident.
According to his obituary, Kaminski was a Navy veteran. He and Barbara Kaminski moved to Wallingford in 1996.