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January 29, 2014

Methuen wins $50K negligence lawsuit

A jury on Friday threw out a Methuen man’s $50,000 claim that the city was negligent when he rear-ended a firetruck and seriously injured himself.

Max Piccolomini claimed firefighters parked a firetruck on Lowell Street when he smashed into it in 2009, sustaining injuries including a collapsed lung. A Superior Court jury in Newburyport disagreed Friday after a three-day trial that included testimony from several involved firefighters and a now retired police sergeant.

“It seems obvious to begin with, but that’s the process,” said Anne Randazzo, the city’s human resources director and assistant city solicitor who handled the case. “It’s open and people can avail themselves of it, but it’s a lot of work and time. We had three firefighters there for three days, along with a retired sergeant.”

The trial was held Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, and the jury of 11 reached a decision in favor of the city. “It took them 20 minutes,” Randazzo said of the jury’s deliberations.

Mayor Stephen Zanni commended Randazzo for her work on the case. “I’d like to thank our assistant city solicitor who not only won the case but saved the city a lot of money,” he said.

Piccolomini’s attorney, Daniel Federico of Shaines & McEachern in Portsmouth, declined to comment on the case, and would not say whether an appeal is in the works.

Piccolomini, who was 17 at the time of the July 23, 2009, crash, said in his 2012 suit that he suffered a collapsed lung, neck and back strain, bruises and contusions in the crash.

The city, the Methuen Fire Department and firefighter John Paintigini, whom Piccolomini claimed in the original court documents left the fire truck parked in the travel lane of Lowell Street with the lights off in order to buy an ice cream, were named in the suit.

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