Injury at Connecticut Fundraising Event Prompts Suit

The father of a man who was seriously injured in a mishap at a Connecticut volunteer fire department’s fundraising event last August has filed suit against the department, the town and six fire officers.

Timothy Meeker, Sr. filed suit last week in Litchfield County Superior Court on behalf of Timothy Meeker, Jr. against the Bridgewater Fire Department, Inc., the town of Bridgewater, Fire Chief Ron Rotter,  Assistant Chief Josh Murphy, Assistant Chief Connor Dillon, Assistant Chief A.J. Murphy, Captain Jeffrey Herron, and Lieutenant Jim Lillis.

The complaint alleges Meeker, Jr. was injured while riding on an antique tractor that was being used to pull vehicles that had become stuck in mud. The tractor had been participating in a tractor pull as part of the Bridgewater Country Fair, an annual three-day event hosted by the fire department.

As explained in the complaint:

  • On August 18, 2018, an antique tractor pull contest was scheduled to take place at the Fair.
  • John Hall was at the Fair on August 18, 2018 with an antique tractor and participated in the antique tractor pull event.
  • Due to inclement weather during that same day, some vehicles in one of the Fair’s grass parking areas became stuck due to muddy and slippery conditions in that parking area.
  • A Fair volunteer working under the direction of the defendant asked John Hall to use his antique tractor to help tow stuck motor vehicles out of the muddy parking area.
  • John Hall agreed to do this.
  • During the time John Hall was helping to tow vehicles out of the muddy parking area at the behest of the defendant … Timothy Meeker, Jr., and another person, John Hamilton, were standing on the metal frame of the tractor next to the driver’s seat.
  • After towing several cars out of the muddy parking area, John Hall started to drive the tractor back to the rear entrance gate of the fairgrounds with Timothy Meeker, Jr. and John Hamilton positioned on the tractor as stated above.
  • During this short trip from the parking area to the rear entrance gate … Timothy Meeker, Jr., fell from the tractor and was run over by the left tractor tire, resulting in the severe injuries and losses more fully set forth below.
  • As a result of the negligence of the defendant, its agents, servants and/or employees as more fully described above … Timothy Meeker, Jr., suffered the following injuries, some or all of which may be permanent in nature:
  1. Traumatic brain injury;
  2. Subdural hematoma;
  3. Right parietal and temporal skull fractures with underlying epidural hematoma;
  4. Large subfalcine brain herniation to the left side;
  5. Large diffuse subarachnoid hemorrhage;
  6. Sphenoid bone fracture;
  7. Occipital bone fracture;
  8. Right apical pnuemothorax;
  9. Bilateral lung lesions;
  10. Bilateral pneumothoraces;
  11. Liver laceration;
  12. Adrenal hemorrhage;
  13. Left upper and lower extremity weakness;
  14. Urinary incontinence;
  15. Decreased mental status;
  16. Hydrocephalus;
  17. Pain and suffering, both physical and emotional.

News reports about the incident state that Meeker Jr. was 23 when the accident occurred. Here is a copy of the complaint:

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.
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