Mellon settles backhoe vs. motorcycle lawsuit

A Plainfield motorcyclist who suffered serious injuries after his motorcycle collided with a backhoe operated by Lyme resident Timothy Mellon in December 2009 has received a $1.3 million settlement, according to New London attorney Kelly E. Reardon.

Michael Fournier, now 53, was out for a ride on a warm December day with two friends when Mellon, driving his backhoe on Route 14A in Plainfield, made a left turn onto Spaulding Road, causing Fournier to hit the backhoe and throwing him from his Harley-Davidson motorcycle, according to Reardon.

Mellon, an heir to the Mellon banking fortune and business owner, was driving his backhoe from Lyme to a repair shop in Rhode Island for a routine inspection, according to Reardon. Fournier was transported by Life Star helicopter to Rhode Island Hospital where he was hospitalized for a neck fracture and head lacerations. He underwent two neck surgeries later at Backus Hospital and a knee arthroscopic surgery at Day Kimball Hospital, according to Reardon, who said he was left with permanent impairments to his neck, knee and head. Fournier had to leave his job at Lowe’s but has not returned to part-time janitorial work, according to Reardon.

The case was headed for trial in September 2013, when Fournier’s doctor decided he needed a second neck surgery, Reardon said. The trial was postponed and Reardon continued negotiations with Mellon’s attorney, Brian J. Farrell of New Haven. They reached a settlement earlier this month.

“Fortunately, Mr. Fournier has made a good recovery and is still recovering from his surgeries,” Reardon said. “He is very pleased with his settlement, which will help him to get on with his life.”

Mellon’s attorney could not immediately be reached for comment.

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