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$1.8 Million Wrongful Death Settlement Reached Between Massachusetts Methadone Clinic and Mother of 8-Year-Old Girl Killed in Marlboro Truck Crash

Kayla Lackey’s mother Erin has reached a $1.8 million wrongful death agreement with Community Health Care Inc., a for-profit Massachusetts methadone clinic in Chicopee. Kayla was just 8 when she died in a Marlboro truck accident in April 2005 on Route 9. Stephen Fairchild, the driver of the pickup truck that struck the truck that Erin, Kayla, and two of her cousins were riding, was a patient at the clinic. He died from injuries he sustained during the truck crash.

Autopsy findings indicate that at the time of the head-on truck crash, Fairchild’s methadone level was “peaking.” He also had recently used marijuana and cocaine.

In 2007, Kayla’s estate sued the clinic and Putney doctor Walter Slowinski over the truck crash that claimed the young girl’s life. Slowinski, who prescribed anti-anxiety medication to the Fairchild while he was taking methadone, settled with the estate earlier this year.

Fairchild, who had a history erratic driving and heroin addiction, also may have been taking trazodone and an anti-seizure drug. All of the drugs combined likely impaired his driving abilities on April 4, 2005.

According to the wrongful death complaint, the clinic failed to properly monitor the truck driver after giving him “take-home” methadone bottles. The clinic is also accused of failing to make Fairchild take blood tests even though he exhibited physical signs of someone who was abusing drugs. He also missed required sessions, including meetings for counseling, and reported that his prescription drugs had been stolen or lost-another red flag.

Erin, who sustained a severe arm fracture, has ongoing medical bills from the truck crash. Kayla’s cousins, Jacob O’Hearn, then 12, and Joshua O’Hearn, then 4, did not sustain any physical injuries, but they were traumatized.

Massachusetts Wrongful Death Cases
The best way to determine who should be held liable for your loved one’s Boston wrongful death is to consult with an experienced injury lawyer about your case.

Mother of crash victim wins $1.8M from methadone clinic, Times Argus, April 10, 2010
Vermont woman awarded $1.8M from Massachusetts clinic, Boston Herald, April 9, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Community Healthcare of Chicopee MA

Wrongful Death, Nolo