You know those headline lawsuits that get the “real folks’” dander up — those cases that seem so egregious that the facts inevitably get twisted into some urban legend, or get made into documentaries about tort reform? If you’ve been a lawyer for any time at all, or heck, if you’ve been in law school for five minutes, you’ve likely had someone (probably a brother-in-law) and some event you probably didn’t want to be at (cousin’s wedding) talkin’ at you ‘bout some story he saw in which some poor schmuck was sued by some guy who broke in his house and slipped on the immaculately shiny floors? Or, of course, the lady who sued over hot McDonald’s coffee. Chances are, the guy is incensed that you lawyer types file those things. At first, you try to explain that it didn’t really happen that way. After awhile, you give up, smile, nod and try to avoid eye contact whenever this clown is around.
Anyway, that guy has a new story to tell you about [Tampa Bay Times via ABA Journal]:
David Belniak had drugs in his system and never braked when he slammed into the back of a family’s car stopped at a red light on Christmas Day 2007. Three people died.
In August, Belniak pleaded guilty to three counts of DUI manslaughter and was sentenced to 12 years in prison. He never said a word in court, not even when the victims’ children begged him for an apology.
But he is voicing his opinion now.
He’s saying he’s not responsible for the crash.
And he wants to be paid for his suffering.
Belniak is being repped by his sister, so it’s not like he went out and found a guy willing to file this suit for him. His sister, Debra Tuomey, called the police’s investigation “government sanctioned assassination against one individual,” so she’s clearly maintained an objective view of her brother’s case.
The description of the accident is as follows:
The crash happened about 2:20 p.m. Dec. 25, 2007. McWilliams, of Hudson, was the driver and was stopped at a red light on U.S. 19 at Little Road. The group was headed to DeFranco’s house in Brooksville. They had Christmas presents and a holiday ham in the car.
Authorities said Belniak was driving between 75 and 85 mph when his pickup smashed into the back of McWilliams’ Chevrolet Tahoe. The SUV crumpled. Gerard Bassi died at the scene. Denise Bassi died in surgery that day. Linda McWilliams was taken off life support a week later.
So ready your answers, barristers! Your sister’s friend’s idiot boyfriend awaits, and he wants you to answer for the perceived sins of your profession