CARS HOMES JOBS

Appeals court gets suit from 2005 fatal Duanesburg accident

Sunday, November 4, 2012
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— A lawsuit filed by representatives of a girl seriously injured in a 2005 car crash that killed her mother and grandmother is headed to an appeals court after a recent filing.

The outcome could impact how much would be available to the girl for her injuries.

The case centers on the Dec. 22, 2005, car accident that devastated the Bullis family of Duanesburg. Killed in the crash were Patricia H. Bullis, 39, of Duanesburg, and her mother-in-law, Patricia F. Bullis, 63, of Albany. Seriously injured was father James Bullis Jr., and then-9-year-old Katie Bullis.

Frank T. Sultan was driving on Route 7, just west of the Route 20 intersection, when his truck crossed the center line. It glanced off another vehicle before hitting the Bullis family car head-on.

The accident spawned a number of lawsuits, including one by an attorney representing Katie Bullis. In that case, a state Supreme Court judge found against Sultan at a January trial on liability in the accident.

A damage determination was set for October, but in September, Reilly awarded the girl $100,000, the limit of Sultan’s insurance policy, finding an agreement between the two sides was valid.

The attorney representing the girl, John Bailey, said last week the agreement was subsequently breached when Sultan’s attorney didn’t fulfill terms of the agreement.

Bailey said if the case is sent back by the Appellate Division, he would hope to make the larger argument that Sultan’s insurance company didn’t act in good faith and in Sultan’s best interests, possibly leaving Sultan’s assets exposed. In that case, the insurance company itself could also be liable for far more than the limit of Sultan’s policy, Bailey said.

If the Appellate Division rules against them, however, Bailey said the case would then end there with the original award intact.

Katie suffered severe trauma in the accident and was in a coma for several days. Bailey declined to describe the lasting impacts of the crash on the girl, citing respect for the family.

But, he said, the loss of her mother and grandmother, as well as the personal injuries she suffered, “are as near catastrophic as they can be and they will impact this young woman for the rest of her life.”

Attorneys for Sultan did not return a call for comment. The status or outcome of other suits filed in the case were not available.

 
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