GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

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July 9, 2012

Victim's family sues UPS over crash

An attorney representing widow Tammy Bennett and the estate of her late husband has notified UPS of her intention to seek a financial settlement from the Atlanta-based package delivery company, whose truck pulled out of a side street onto Essex Avenue and was hit by motorcycle rider Stephen Bennett, 43, who died almost instantaneously in the May 31 crash.

Gloucester attorney Joseph Orlando filed a complaint in U.S. District Court in Boston on Friday.

In a telephone interview Monday, Orlando said he has written to UPS' lawyer Matthew Slater of the Boston law firm D'Ambrosio Brown LLC, and that Slater has acknowledged receiving the letter.

Orlando said the legal rules allow 120 days for the sides to settle civil damage claims before requiring him to serve the complaint on Atlanta-based UPS, which would move the matter into the federal court system.

Saying he hoped to reach an out-of-court settlement with UPS — a publicly traded company wit $53 billion in revenue and $4.3 billion in net revenue (or profits) last year — Orlando said, "Sometimes, the right thing happens."

"We have a widow with a minor child" who have lost their husband, father and main wage earner, he said.

"Either UPS will come to the table and take responsibility, or we'll pursue our case in court," he added.

Orlando said he has retained an economist to calculate the damages for the purposes of the suit or settlement, including "future lost earnings and other economic damages and emotional harm to the family, which are sometimes worse than the financial damages."

UPS lawyer Slater did not return phone calls seeking comment Monday.

The Essex County District Attorney's office has not yet completed its accident reconstruction investigation, Carrie Kimball-Monahan, spokeswoman for DA Jonathan Blodgett, said Monday.

However, Orlando's complaint on behalf of Tammy Bennett and her late husband's estate alleges that UPS was responsible for the "negligence" of its driver in the "wrongful" death of Steve Bennett, a machinist who was employed at Ophir Optics LLC of North Andover, a major manufacturer of precision optical components and infrared red lens assemblies.

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