Hassett & George’s team of experienced litigation attorneys represent many major insurance companies. Our attorneys handle a wide variety of cases and have represented clients in defense of automobile and premises liability cases, in defense of municipal police officers and other municipal personnel, in defense of products liability actions, in the prosecution and defense of construction litigation, in defense of claims of professional liability brought against real estate and insurance professionals, in defense of claims of legal malpractice, and in response to civil rights claims. We serve as Connecticut counsel to companies involved in the automobile rental business, providing representation in matters in litigation and outside of the litigation context. The firm has defended many municipalities and municipal police departments in response to civil rights actions and counts two former police officers among its litigation attorneys.

We try cases in all courts and have handled matters from pre-suit investigation through verdict and appeal. We work with our clients to develop a comprehensive strategy prior to undertaking any activity.  In all cases, large and small, we work with our clients to identify the objective to be achieved and determine how best to manage resources efficiently to accomplish the client’s objective.  The attorney will confer with the client, in each case, and memorialize litigation objectives and a plan to achieve those objectives at the outset of the relationship. We are well versed in the principles of litigation management and have more than twenty years of experience working within litigation guidelines established by many different carriers and private clients. Two of our partners are graduates of the Litigation Management Institute program of the Claims & Litigation Management Alliance.

Apart from trial work, our attorneys routinely handle advice and recommendation requests, conduct mediations and arbitration hearings, and serve as mediators and arbitrators.  We also advise clients on issues involving insurance coverage and have prosecuted and defended declaratory judgment actions. We have written and lectured nationally on the subject of rental vehicle law and have advocated in support of legislation affecting the rental vehicle industry and tort reform.

We are proud of the depth and breadth of our experience and our track record.

 

OUR LITIGATION EXPERIENCE
Hassett & George has been representing insurance companies and self-insured businesses for 25 years.  Our attorneys have been involved in a wide variety of litigation matters, practicing before State and Federal Courts and arbitration tribunals.  Examples include: 

  • The defense of asbestos-related claims
  • The defense of personal injury claims for automobile and fall down cases on behalf of insurance companies
  • Prosecution and defense of construction litigation matters
  • The defense of extensive product liability (including asbestos) and fire loss cases for insurance companies
  • The defense of sophisticated errors and omissions policies on behalf of agencies and Trust Departments
  • One of the first law firms in Connecticut to appear on behalf of breast implant manufacturers
  • Actively involved in the first class action indoor air quality (Sick Building Syndrome) litigation in Connecticut
  • The defense of commercial waste haulers, trucking and transportation cases
  • The defense of public and government officials
  • Defense of members of the CT Judiciary regarding claims of violation of the Code of Judicial Misconduct
  • The defense of grievance complaints on behalf of attorneys before the Statewide Grievance Committee
  • Hassett & George attorneys are routinely selected by other area attorneys to serve on Arbitration Panels

 

OUR TRIAL EXPERIENCE
Our insurance practice group has tried numerous cases to the jury and to the court, and has successfully arbitrated others to obtain the desired result for our clients. The cases have ranged from motor vehicle cases in which the issue was whether “actual injury” resulted from a collision, to construction disputes arising from large contracts, to miscellaneous professional liability claims.

Louis George, founding partner, has supervised the litigation practice at Hassett & George since its inception.  The practice group has grown to six attorneys.  He has successfully tried numerous cases to verdict; the two most recent were defense of commercial bank liability cases.

Julie Harris, a partner, has tried six cases to jury verdict since joining the firm in April 2014. In two of her trials since joining the firm, the jury returned a defendant’s verdict based on “no actual injury”, despite evidence the plaintiff treated following the accident in question. In two others, the jury rejected arguments the plaintiff was entitled to compensation in the mid six figures, returning in one case, a defense verdict, and in another, a verdict under $30,000. A significant portion of Julie’s caseload is comprised of cases transferred to her for trial from other defense firms.

Mike Conroy, a partner, successfully defended clients in four trials to jury verdict or judgment by the court in the last three years. He was also successful in defending a favorable result for one client on appeal.  Mike obtained a directed verdict in a professional liability case, and then obtained a finding of vexatious litigation by the court, which he used to file suit against the unsuccessful plaintiffs for attorneys’ fees incurred by his clients in the underlying action.

Yelena Akim, an associate, tried three jury cases to defendant’s verdict based on a defense of no “actual injury” in the last three years, despite evidence the defendant operators caused the accident. In 2017, she convinced the Connecticut Appellate Court to reverse a trial court decision and enter judgment in favor of an insurer that validly cancelled an auto liability policy for nonpayment of a premium.  In 2015, Yelena obtained summary judgment in a wrongful death case alleging negligent entrustment liability.

Jeffrey McDonald, an associate, has tried two jury cases to verdict in favor of his clients in jury trials conducted over the last three years.  He has obtained victories for contractor clients in arbitration of large project disputes and in trials to the court.  He has successfully defended claims against many other clients with dispositive motions.

David Yale, an associate, prevailed on a motion for directed verdict in a large exposure auto accident case, where the jury returned a verdict against the remaining defendants in excess of $100,000. David recently obtained summary judgment in favor of two police officers sued for false arrest and malicious prosecution.  David has tried two federal cases to defense verdicts, successfully limited damages in six state trials in which liability was not contested, and resolved several other federal cases through motion practice, including a successful decision from the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. 

In addition, Hassett & George has a strong business litigation practice in which many cases have been tried to verdict.

 

OUR RESULTS

JULIE HARRIS PREVAILS IN ROCKVILLE JURY TRIAL

Julie Harris successfully defended a lawsuit brought by a plaintiff motorcyclist seeking substantial damages.  The case stemmed from a collision between the plaintiff's motorcycle and a vehicle operated by a Hassett & George client who had emerged from a stop sign, across the plaintiff’s lane, to begin a left hand turn. The plaintiff filed an Offer of Compromise for $875,000, based on treatment expense of $127,000 and a lost earning capacity claim said to total more than $200,000.  An Offer of Compromise for $75,000 was filed on behalf of the defendant based on comparative negligence and denial that a back surgery the plaintiff underwent four years post-accident was caused by the accident. The jury in Tolland Superior Court agreed with the defense's position, assessing comparative negligence at 50%, and returned a verdict under the defendant’s Offer of Compromise, at $29,250. The case is now on appeal by the plaintiff.
 

JEFFREY MCDONALD OBTAINS SUMMARY JUDGMENT IN FAVOR OF INSURANCE COMPANY IN SUBROGATION ACTION

Attorney McDonald, representing a local insurance company in a subrogation claim against an out of state insurance company, recently obtained summary judgment establishing that the other insurer was liable for the damages sustained by our client.  The summary judgment finding will cut out a lot of unnecessary litigation expense to establish liability at trial, and the matter will now simply proceed to a hearing in damages to determine how much money the insurer owes to our client.  

 

YELENA AKIM WINS DEFENSE VERDICT IN UNINSURED MOTORIST CASE

Attorney Yelena Akim defended an auto insurance company against claims by two plaintiffs that they were injured in a hit and run accident caused by an unknown driver.  Attorney Akim successfully demonstrated to the jury that the plaintiffs offered inconsistent versions of the accident, and that their treatment records did not demonstrate that the plaintiffs suffered any actual injuries.  A Hartford Superior Court jury agreed that the plaintiffs did not meet their burden of proof and returned a defendant’s verdict in favor of the insurer.

 

JULIE HARRIS PREVAILS IN ARBITRATION IN STAMFORD SUPERIOR COURT

Attorney Harris successfully defended a tractor trailer driver and his employer from an injury claim that arose out of an accident on I-95 under exigent circumstances.  Attorney Harris defended the case based on the theory that the crash was an unavoidable accident caused by another evading motorist.  The court entered judgment for the defendants in accordance with the arbitration finding.

 

DAVID YALE OBTAINS FAVORABLE RESULT FOR CLIENT AT JURY TRIAL

In a case where Attorney Yale’s client admitted liability for a rear-end accident, Attorney Yale convinced the jury to award damages that were limited to the plaintiff’s medical bills and only a nominal amount of pain and suffering damages.  The jury award was commensurate with the pre-trial offer, which was significantly less than the plaintiff demanded to settle the case.  

 

SUMMARY JUDGMENT GRANTED IN INSURANCE DEFENSE CASE

A Plaintiff injured in a fireworks accident pursued a claim for strict liability against the property owner where the injury occurred.  Attorney McDonald successfully argued that the Plaintiff was barred from bringing such a claim due to his participation in the fireworks display.  

 

DAVID YALE SECURES A SUCCESSFUL OUTCOME FOR INSURANCE COMPANY

David Yale obtained a directed verdict in favor of a national insurance company represented by Hassett & George. The case involved a rear-end accident in which the plaintiff sued the other driver, ESPN, and her own insurance company, which was represented by Attorney Yale. After two weeks of jury selection and two weeks of trial, the Court ruled that the Plaintiff’s Counsel had not met the legal burden to prove the plaintiff’s claims alleged against her own insurance company, despite a significant jury award against the other driver.

 

ATTORNEY YELENA AKIM WINS JURY VERDICT DESPITE ADMITTED LIABILITY

Attorney Yelena Akim obtained a defense verdict in favor of the firm’s car rental client in a case with admitted liability. 

The car rental agency admitted responsibility for an accident that occurred in its rental lot, but disputed the extent of the injuries and damages claimed by the plaintiff. The plaintiff claimed to have suffered a herniated disc and a 10% permanent partial impairment of the lower back as a result the accident. She incurred roughly $15,000 worth of medical treatment. The plaintiff rejected a pretrial settlement offer and opted for trial. 

At the conclusion of the two-day trial, plaintiff’s counsel argued to the jury that the plaintiff’s economic and noneconomic damages exceeded $800,000. The defense position throughout trial was that although liability was admitted, the plaintiff suffered no actual injury. The jury agreed and entered a verdict for the defendant. A real win for the client!

 

JULIE HARRIS WINS DEFENDANT'S VERDICT IN MINOR IMPACT CASE IN WATERBURY

Attorney Julie Harris defended a client who was involved in a minor impact auto accident in Woodbridge.  The plaintiff alleged he was injured from head to toe, requiring extensive and expensive therapies, and that he was left with significant disability and had difficulty working.  Attorney Harris successfully defended the case by arguing that the plaintiff was not actually injured, and that his medical treatment was indicative of claim building rather than curative care.  The jury agreed and returned a verdict for the defendant on the basis that there was no actual injury.

 

YELENA AKIM OBTAINS SUMMARY JUDGMENT IN FAVOR OF AUTO RENTAL COMPANY IN NEGLIGENT ENTRUSTMENT CLAIM ALLEGING WRONGFUL DEATH

Attorney Akim obtained summary judgment on behalf of a rental car company on a claim of negligent entrustment.  The rental company client entered into a rental agreement with a customer who transferred the vehicle to an acquaintance, and ultimately the vehicle was involved in a fatal accident.  The decedent’s estate claimed the rental company negligently entrusted its vehicle and should have known that harm would befall the decedent.  The trial court agreed that the rental company had no knowledge of the renter’s incompetence or the ultimate user’s incompetence, nor did it have a duty to conduct background checks on its renters.  

 

YELENA AKIM WINS DEFENDANT'S VERDICT ON ADMITTED LIABILITY CASE

Attorney Yelena Akim obtained a defense verdict in favor of a rental car company client in an auto accident case with admitted liability.  The plaintiff claimed to have suffered a serious lower back injury with permanent disability.  The defense position throughout trial was that although liability was admitted, the plaintiff’s injuries, if any, were caused by prior accidents.  A Hartford Superior Court jury agreed and entered a verdict for the defendant.   

 

JULIE HARRIS WINS JURY TRIAL IN NEW LONDON

Attorney Julie Harris successfully defended a rental car company in a claim by a patron who alleged significant injury while riding in a vehicle that traveled over an ice patch.  Attorney Harris argued at trial that the plaintiff did not suffer an “actual injury” as a result of the event, and the jury returned a defendant’s verdict.

 

JULIE HARRIS OBTAINS DEFENDANT'S VERDICT IN PEDESTRIAN VERSUS CAR ACCIDENT

Attorney Julie Harris successfully defended a motorist whose vehicle came into contact with a police officer directing construction traffic.  The officer was claiming substantial injuries and significant lost wages.  Attorney Harris convinced the jury that Hassett & George’s client did not operate his vehicle negligently, but was simply following the officer’s direction to proceed through a narrow space.  

 

YELENA AKIM WINS JURY TRIAL IN HARTFORD

Attorney Yelena Akim successfully convinced a Hartford Superior Court jury that an insurance company was not liable for payment of uninsured motorist (UM) benefits to an insured plaintiff who claimed injuries following a collision with a hit and run vehicle.  During the course of the lawsuit, the plaintiff asserted his entitlement to UM benefits, and alleged both statutory and common law bad faith claims against Hassett & George’s insurance company client.   Attorney Akim successfully argued to the court that the trial should be bifurcated to adjudicate the merits of the UM claim first, possibly obviating the need to try the bad faith claims.  Following three days of evidence, the jury determined that the plaintiff was not credible and was not entitled to any UM benefits. 

 

JEFFREY MCDONALD SUCCESSFULLY WINS DEFENDANT'S VERDICT IN CONTESTED LIABILITY MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENT CASE

Attorney McDonald successfully defended a client in motor vehicle accident claim tried to a jury.  In this case of disputed liability, after colliding with another vehicle, the plaintiff was thrown from his motorcycle and sustained a serious leg fracture, among other injuries.  Hassett & George was hired to represent the vehicle that struck the motorcyclist, who from day one denied that she was at fault for causing the accident.  After a three-day jury trial, the jury returned a verdict in favor of Hassett & George’s client, finding that the client did not cause the motor vehicle accident and was not responsible for compensating the plaintiff for his injuries.

Contact Us

Simsbury Office

945 Hopmeadow Street
Simsbury, CT 06070
Phone: 860.651.1333
Fax: 860.651.1888

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Glastonbury Office

628 Hebron Avenue, Suite 212
Glastonbury, CT 06033
Phone: 860.635.3116
Fax: 860.635.7720

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