2019 Personal Injury Cases

AUGUST 7,2019  Settlement $143 Million- Lawrence Gas Explosion Case

We are pleased to report Class Action lawsuits filed  by Brian Cunha and Associates and other attorneys stemming from the natural gas explosions in Massachusetts, has been settled  for $143 million, against Columbia Gas, the utility blamed for the disaster.

The settlement is subject to the approval of a judge, according to Brian Cunha.The explosions and fires in the Merrimack Valley communities of Lawrence, Andover and North Andover on September 13,2018  killed one person, injured about 25 others, and damaged or destroyed more than 100 buildings. Many people were forced into temporary shelter, and thousands of homes and businesses went without natural gas service for weeks and even months during the winter.

“Families suffered for months in the gripping cold. Businesses shuttered and lives were upended.” Brian Cunha attorney for the plaintiffs said in a statement.

The explosions were blamed on an over pressurization of gas transmission lines during routine replacement. The National Transportation Safety Board is continuing its investigation.

The agreement is separate from an $80 million settlement reached in May with the three communities to address infrastructure damage.

“I don’t’ think anything can ever be fair to a community where so many people lost family members, lost homes, lost livelihoods,” Gov. Charlie Baker responded when asked.

Baker added that victims of the disaster were well represented in negotiations with the utility, “and if they believe that was a deal worth signing, I’m going to side with them on that.”

NiSource has so far spent about $1 billion responding to the disaster, the company said.

Residents of the three communities will be entitled to recover compensation for disruption of their lives and property damage not previously covered, according to Brian Cunha. Businesses will be
able to claim lost income and lost inventory.

Brian Cunha & Associates is presently proceeding on a second class action lawsuit in Newport Rhode Island against National grid and it natural Gas supplier Enbridge Corp.,  a Canadian based company, as a result of the loss of natural gas service to the community in January 2019. That case is proceeding though litigation.

APRIL 16, 2019  Settlement $120,000.00 – Motor Vehicle Accident

The plaintiff, 35, was struck by a motor vehicle in 2017 as she crossed the street in Fall River Massachusetts, causing her to fall and suffer a fractured clavicle. She was seen at the hospital and underwent several months of physical therapy and was unable to work during that time frame. The case was settled by Attorney  Brian Cunha with the insurance company at a mediation before retired Judge Suzanne Del Vecchio at Commonwealth Mediation in Brockton Massachusetts just before trial was to begin.

March 4, 2019 – $200,000.00  Settlement – Nursing Home Neglect

The Plaintiff, 93, was a resident at a nursing home in New Bedford Massachusetts, when she was caused to fall on two separate occasions. As a result she sustained a fractured nose a pelvis. Her family retained Brian Cunha & Associates to represent her in a claim against the nursing home for neglect in failing to properly safeguard her while walking. Given the Plaintiffs age the insurance company was initially reluctant to pay any sizeable settlement. However after the Plaintiff had retained an expert on liability Brian Cunha & Associates was able to convince the insurance  company to pay a fair settlement to the Plaintiff

February 20, 2019 – $172,044.00-  Arbitration Award- Auto Accident

The Plaintiff, age 52, was involved in a motor vehicle accident when the Defendant went through a stop sign and struck her vehicle.  The Plaintiff sustained injuries to her wrist, ankle, back and neck wherein she underwent treatment.  The insurance company’s initial offer on the case was $12,000.00.  The position of the insurance company was that the Plaintiff’s injuries were pre-existing.  The other issue in the case was that the Plaintiff’s SUV only sustained $750.00 in damage.  Attorney Sharon D. Sybel from Brian Cunha & Associates retained the services of a physician who examined the Plaintiff and reviewed all of her medical records.  The doctor was able to opine that although there was minor damage to the Plaintiff’s vehicle, the position of the Plaintiff’s hand son the steering wheel and  foot on the brake at the time of the impact, was the cause of her injuries at the time of the accident.

After testimony from the Plaintiff and Defendant at the arbitration hearing the arbitrator awarded the Plaintiff $172,044.50.

$140,000.00 Settlement –  Dog Bite

January 5, 2019- Settlement  $140,000.00

On March 12, 2018, the Plaintiff, 7,  was dropping off his  son at his place of employment in Fall River Massachusetts. When he entered the Defendants property, the Defendant’s dog escaped his kennel and and bit the Plaintiff on his leg causing a bad laceration. The Defendant claims that he was not negligent and that there was nothing he could do to prevent the dog from escaping. Attorney Sharon Sybel, from Brian Cunha and Associates was able to convince the Defendants homeowners insurance company to settle the case within six months of having retained our personal injury law firm.

$150,000.00 Settlement – Slip and Fall Accident

January 15, 2019 – Settlement $150,000.00

In 2017, the Plaintiff, 85, was caused to slip and fall w due to a depression in the walkway while exiting a family sport and recreation center in Fall River Massachusetts, causing her to fracture her hip. Unfortunately, the Plaintiff did not report the fall at the time of the incident to the recreational facility, nor did they have any other notice of the acident. The failure to give notice led to a great deal of difficulty in bringing the claim. Another hurdle in the case was that the Plaintiff, who sought medical attention, failed to tell the emergency room doctor that she fell due to a defect in the walkway. The Plaintiff retained the services of Brian Cunha and Associates approximately one year after the fall. Our attorneys immediately investigated the fall and photographed the scene of the accident. Despite the hurdles faced due to lack of notice, through the photographs and investigation, our attorneys were able to convince the insurance company of their liability and able to settle the claim favorably

The lesson to be learned is to immediately report any fall, to inform the doctor of the fall and the reasons for the fall and as soon as possible to document the fall with photographs of the scene!

October 10, 2018 North Andover and Lawrence Gas explosions

Brian Cunha and Associates in conjunction with the Napoli Shkolnik law firm from New York, and attorney Dave Raimondo are proud to be working with the citizens of Massachusetts that have recently suffered damages as a result of the Columbia gas fires and explosions in Andover, North Andover and Lawrence, Massachusetts. On Friday, September 28,2018, Brian Cunha & Associates commenced two separate legal actions against Columbia Gas and its parent company.

The first action was filed as a class action and seeks to recover business losses for local businesses harmed by the gas outage and the fires. The class, if certified by a judge, seeks to include all businesses that have lost earnings or revenue as a result of Columbia Gas and its negligent conduct.

The second action was filed on behalf of Dean and Mona Thornhill and their family. The Thornhill’s family home in North Andover was severely damaged by fire and smoke. This case seeks to recover damages for the Thornhill Family including property damage , out of pocket expenses , mental anguish damages.

By way of background Brian Cunha and the Napoli firm bring a wealth of legal experience to these cases. Brian Cunha represented more than 23 families in the 2001 infamous Station House Fire case in which 100 people died and hundreds injured. Paul Napoli was instrumental in obtaining settlements for thousands of firefighters and other first responders in the 9/11 tragedy

Brian Cunha and Associates, together with our sister firms stand ready to assist any of the residents or businesses of Andover, North Andover or Lawrence. Our hearts, thoughts and prayers go out to the many victims of this disaster. We call upon Columbia Gas to fairly compensate all of the victims as quickly as possible.




$150,000.00 Settlement Slip and Fall

9/20/18      SETTLEMENT – $150,000.00

On May 27, 2016, the Plaintiff, age 85, was caused to slip and fall while exiting a sports facility building located in Somerset, MA. that allows patrons to host parties in which participants can engage in activities such as soccer, touch football  or basketball.

On said date, the Plaintiff was at a birthday party for her grandson. While leaving she was caused to trip over uneven pavement located on the outside walkway. As a result of her fall, she suffered a fractured hip. After surgical intervention, the Plaintiff had a full recovery.

The Plaintiff came to our personal injury law firm, Brian Cunha & Associates,  approximately one and a half years after she fell. The case was complicated because at the time of her fall, she did not notify anyone from the Somerset facility that she had injured herself at their facility. After submitting medical documentation to support the Plaintiff’s contention as to where her fall occurred, Attorney Sharon D. Sybel, from Brian Cunha & Associates was able to settle her case after filing a lawsuit.

The important lesson to be learned is that if you are involved in any incident where you are injured on someone’s premises, as soon as practical you should do the following:

1). Seek medical attention if necessary

2). Alert the owner

3.) Fill out an accident report and request a copy, and

4). Take photos of where you fell and of any injuries you may have sustained.

By following these steps, you are more likely to prevail against the property owner who may be negligent.

August 8, 2018 Combined Settlement $446,712.00 — Injury on job – struck by Backhoe

On September 26, 2013 the Plaintiff Mr Moniz, 27, was injured while working as a laborer on a construction project in Providence, Rhode Island, involving the removal and replacement of curbing on various roadways throughout Providence. The crew on which he was assigned consisted of himself, a second laborer, the foremen and the operator of the backhoe that lifted the pieces of curbing being replaced onto a dump truck.

On the day of the incident, the first day at that location, at approximately 8:00 a.m., Mr Moniz was struck by the backhoe loader bucket being operated the Defendants employee, causing his body to be thrown into an iron fence adjacent to the sidewalk where they were working, injuring his left shoulder and lower back.


The Plaintiff contacted Brian Cunha & Associates to represent him in this accident. Our office claimed that the only reason the accident occurred was due to the negligence of the backhoe operator, who failed to ensure that the curbing being lifted was properly secured. The Defendant claimed that the Plaintiff improperly failed to stay clear of the backhoe while it was being operated.


Brian Cunha & Associates were initially able to have Mr. Moniz placed on workers compensation retroactive to September 26, 2013, with an average weekly wage of $1,366.74 per week at a compensation rate of $746.48. He remained on workers compensation with full benefits, including payment of all of his medical expenses for approximately 3 ½ years until January 30th 2017, when his workers compensation case case was settled by Attorney Nelia Destefano from Brian Cunha & Associates in the amount of $68,212.15.


Brian Cunha and Associates then institued suit against the Company that employed the backhoe operator.

Both the Plaintiff and the backhoe operator testified that the incident occurred as a result of the loss of control of a piece of curbing that the operator had just lifted and was attempting to load onto the waiting dump truck parked adjacent and to the left of the Backhoe loader bucket. The operator testified that when he recognized that he was losing control of the curbing, in order to avoid damage to the dump truck, swung the loader bucket back to the right continuing the swing past the area in which the curbing had been lifted and over the sidewalk on which Mr. Moniz was standing, causing the bucket to strike him.

The Defendant claimed that Moniz had placed himself within the swing radius of the boom and backhoe bucket and was therefore contributorily responsible for his injuries.
The Plaintiff was prepared to offer expert testimony that it is the duty of the operators of the tractor loader backhoe to make sure that the load is properly secured before lifting the load, which the operator failed to do.


Rhode Island Hospital – September 26, 2013 (Ex 1)

Mr. Moniz was taken by ambulance to Rhode Island Hospital where his primary complaint, at the time, was a left shoulder injury. He did not complain of a back injury He was treated and released with instructions to follow up with his physician.

Concentra Medical Center- September 30, 2013 (Ex 2)

The next day, Mr Moniz was directed by the Defendant to be see a a physician selected by them to assess his injuries. He was seen on September 30, 2013. During that visit, he reported continuing pain in his left shoulder and increasing pain in his lower back and directed to commence with a structured physical therapy program.

. Dr. Gassman – October 30, 2013 (Ex 3)

Mr. Moniz followed up with Dr. Gassman who evaluated his back and shoulder complaints. Dr. Gassman diagnosed a likely AV left shoulder separation, prescribed anti-inflammatories and disabled him from work. In addition, he ordered a Lumbar MRI which was completed on 10/31/13

Dr. Marcovici May 28, 2014

The plaintiff continued to follow up followed up with Dr. Marcovici, who in correspondence with Dr. Ananta, documented the failed conservative treatments and recommended a decompressive laminectomy.

The plaintiff continued with monthly visits with Dr. Mistikawy, including additional Physical Therapy with Prima Care Physical Therapy October 7, 2015- December 15, 2015, culminating in surgery at Charlton Memorial Hospital April 12, 2016 – Operation Surgical disectomy L4-5, L5-S1.

Dr. Gastel – Ortopedic surgeon – September 9, 2014 (Ex 12)
The first IME occurred on the above date and was related to the injury to his left shoulder. Dr. Gastel opined that he was disabled from work and that the injury was causally related to the incident at work.

Attorney Nelia Destefano from Brian Cunha and Associates had previously secured for Mr. Moniz a Lump sum settlement of his workers compensation claim arising out of the same incident on January 30, 2017 in the amount of $68,212.15.

Settlement: The Defendant at all times defended this case claiming that the Plaintiff was negligent and that his injury was simply a shoulder injury and suggested that the Plaintiff had pre-existing arthritis that caused his disability.

However, Attorney Brian Cunha from Brien Cunha & Associates was able to convince the insurer that both his shoulder and back injuries were related to the accident and that the Defendant was negligent enabling him to secure a settlement in the amount of $378,500.00, which with the earlier workersw compensation settlement amounted to a total settlement of $446,712.15. In addition, all of the medical expenses were paid by the workers compensation carrier.

Mr. Moniz is now back to work full time

May 5, 2018 – Minor’s Settlement – $100,000.00- Injury on Treadmill

This minor’s suit arose out of an incident that occurred on September 3, 2016
while on the premises of the defendant located at 186 Warren Avenue in Cranston, Rhode Island. On that date, the minor plaintiff, age 9, was attending a birthday party at the above premises for the defendant’s son, Anthony Garcia, and was playing in the basement with other children. The parents of the children remained upstairs. A functioning and unprotected treadmill was located against a wall. While in the basement, the minor plaintiff was standing on the treadmill when Anthony turned the treadmill on and it carried Allyson forward causing her to get stuck between the treadmill and the wall.

Plaintiffs through their attorney Brian Cunha alleged the defendant was negligent in that he failed to provide adequate supervision for the minor plaintiff and other children. Defendant denies the allegation.If this matter were to proceed to trial, liability could have been an issue.


As a result of the incident, the minor plaintiff was taken by her parents to Hasbro
Children’s Hospital Emergency Room where after receiving a history and conducting
examinations, including a surgical consultation and x-rays of the right shin and left arm,
which were negative for fractures and dislocations, Allyson was diagnosed as sustaining a 2 cm curvilinear right shin laceration, along with second and third degree burns on her right arm and right anterior ankle, along with minor abrasions to both knees. TheRight knee  was cleansed, debrided and sutured closed. The second degree burns were treated with Bacitracin Due to the nature of the injuries, Allyson was admitted to the pediatric surgical unit for observation, pain control and wound care.

The overnight admission was uneventful and the following day, after follow up
examination and dressing changes, the minor plaintiff was discharged home to the care of her parents with instructions as to wound care, pain management and follow up.

On September 13, 2016, the minor plaintiff was seen in follow up for the first
time with her surgeon, Nishant Merchant, M.D., at University Surgical Associates. By
way of history, there was no increase in pain with no redness or drainage at the wound
sites. Activity was normal. On the right forearm, healing was slow; however, the right
ankle area, which was quarter size, was healing with good granulation tissue. The
laceration was healed and sutures removed

Allyson was next seen by Dr. Merchant on September 20, 2016. Examination of
the right forearm revealed a  burn with only a small amount of healing
around the edges with no sign of infection. Surgery was discussed with the family and a
decision made to proceed with  grafting to the right forearm wound. The surgery
was performed on September 28,2016 at Hasbro Children’s Hospital.

Allyson was discharged home to the care of her parents with instructions as to
care for the burn and donor areas, prescription medication for pain and a follow up
appointment at University Surgical Associates on October 4, 2016.

Medical records from each visit demonstrated continued healing of the graft area, with no finding of infections. In addition, Allyson’s other
wounds had completely healed without any complications.


Attorney Brian Cunha of Fall River Mass and Providence Rhode Island negotiated a settlement on behalf of the minor plaintiff with the defendant’s homeowners liability insurance carrier,  for the policy limits of $100,000.00.

All medical bills were paid by the minor plaintiff’s healthcare provider at the
time, As far as the net settlement Attorney Cunha was able to work out an annuity for the minor child. Payouts from the annuity will be as follows:

$10,000.00 guaranteed, lump sum payment of$10,000.00 on 2/28/28 (age 18)
$20,000.00 guaranteed, lump sum payment of $20,000.00 on 2/28/29 (age 19)
$30,793.82 guaranteed, lump sum payment of $30,793.82 on 2/28/30 (age 20)

The total payout from the annuity will be $60,793.82.  In addition  $8,357.75  was turned over to the parents of the minor plaintiff to be placed into a trust savings account for Allyson with her mother as trustee. The settlement agreemnet was approved by a justice of the RI Superior court.