In the case of Cila v. Bechtel/Parsons Brinckerhoff, et al. Suffolk Superior Court, No. 06-3845C, the family of State Trooper Vincent Cila recently settled a multi million dollar lawsuit with Bechtel and other Big Dig contractors for 9 million dollars. He was killed on July 22, 2005 in a motor vehicle crash after exiting the Ted Williams tunnel. He was 45 at the time of his death, had been a trooper for 23 years and left behind a wife and two daughters, then 13 and 10.
After losing control of his motorcycle, the trooper collided with the stainless steel handrails that were designed, manufactured and installed by the defendants as part of the Central Artery Big Dig project.
At the heart of the lawsuit were the pedestrian handrails, that after striking, caused the death of the trooper. The plaintiffs contended that the handrails were unreasonably dangerous due to their multi edged design versus a more rounded design. The handrails, erected on concrete jersey barriers lining the south wall of Ramp FD were located just before the merger of I-90 and I-93 and believed to be too low which also contributed to the death.
Probably contributing to the quick settlement days before the trial was set to start was the fact that correspondences showed that it was recommended by some that the handrails be crash tested but that the test was never carried out. The test most likely did not occur due to the contention that they didn’t “intend” for someone to ever strike the handrails, in addition to code issues relating to the bolts used to secure them. Considering the costs of the overall project, you would think such a small test would have been conducted. It could have have saved lives and a good cop would likely be back on the streets.
Attorney Ronald A. Sellon