Cramer & Anderson LLP Completes 20-Year Transaction

With the recent successful conclusion of a simultaneous Lease Termination and new Lease execution, Cramer & Anderson LLP assisted its client in the conclusion of a transaction that lasted nearly twenty years. The 24-attorney law firm, with offices in Danbury and four locations in Litchfield County, including New Milford, represented the shareholders of Quality Food Oils, Inc., in their 1997 sale of stock to AC Humko Corp., a division of Associated British Foods. Attorney Mitchell J. Melnick, the head of Cramer & Anderson’s Corporate and Business Department, was lead counsel for the selling shareholders in that transaction. The Houston, Texas, based multinational law firm, Vinson & Elkins, represented AC Humko. The late attorney James Rylander acted as lead counsel for AC Humko. As part of the sale of stock, the Quality Food Oils shareholders retained ownership of the property through an affiliate and leased back the more than 73,000 square foot commercial facility for a term of 20 years. The representation provided by Cramer & Anderson is notable on multiple levels, from the magnitude of the 1997 transaction, which required compliance with federal antitrust laws, to the longevity of the attorney-client relationship, which continues after more than 30 years and spans three generations of the ownership group. Arthur C. Weinshank, Senior Partner of the firm’s Estate, Trust, Elder Law and Probate Administration Department, started performing legal services for Quality Food Oils in the 1980s. Cramer & Anderson served as the attorneys for the company since that time until the sale of its stock. In 1997, Quality Food Oils received an offer from AC Humko, initiating a complex stock sale...

Attorney Moller Wins $450,000 Settlement in Accident Case

If you’ve been injured and have a Workers’ Compensation or Personal Injury claim, you’re in good hands with Cramer & Anderson Partner Barry S. Moller. $450,000—in a lump sum. That’s the settlement Attorney Moller recently secured after going up against the insurance giant Allstate, known for tenacity in trying to avoid such settlements. See the Connecticut Law Tribune story on the case The settlement resulted from a New Fairfield, Conn., motor-vehicle-injury case. A 54-year-old female postal worker was substantially injured when a teenager drove through a stop sign and struck the postal van she was driving while on the job. Medically, the injured worker needed two knee surgeries, sustained lower back injuries and required an extensive period of recovery, as well suffering a temporary shoulder injury as the result of having to use crutches. Legally, “it was a Federal Workers’ Compensation claim and a motor vehicle claim,” explained Attorney Moller. “If you’re a Federal worker and you’re involved in an accident, you immediately come under the jurisdiction of the Federal Employees Compensation Act. Our office represented her on the motor vehicle claim,” which was a Personal Injury case. Attorney Moller mediated the case with Allstate, and through his experience and extensive knowledge of medical impairment ratings for injuries, he aggressively advocated on behalf of his client to obtain a settlement that represents a very good result given the age of the client and the injuries sustained. But that wasn’t the end of Attorney Moller’s exceptional work on the case. The Federal Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs paid the postal worker $103,000 for medical costs and lost wages. Whenever possible,...

Taste of Wine Subjective, Not Danbury Liquor Store Separation Rule

The ongoing battle in Connecticut about laws governing the sale of alcohol has been distilled most recently into a dispute over the state’s minimum bottle pricing rule. Total Wine & More, the superstore chain with a growing presence in Connecticut, has challenged Connecticut’s pricing law in court, calling it price-fixing that harms consumers and violates U.S. anti-trust laws. Gov. Dannel Malloy agrees with the criticism. He wants to “put the authority to determine the prices of these products back into the hands of retailers and out of the hands of government.” The principles of fair competition under debate hover in the background of a case in which Cramer & Anderson Partner Daniel Casagrande successfully defended the City of Danbury’s Zoning Commission in a court challenge to the validity of a City zoning regulation requiring a minimum of 2,000 feet between liquor sales in the City. In addition to obtaining a state permit, liquor stores need a special permit from the Zoning Commission to open in Danbury, and the Commission granted a special permit for a new liquor store on Mill Plain Road. The owners of an existing liquor store on Mill Plain Road sued, claiming the Zoning Commission had improperly construed the 2,000 feet separation requirement, and that the proposed store would be less than the required distance from the existing store. In a decision dated October 27, 2016, Danbury Superior Court upheld the Zoning Commission’s decision. The ruling determined that the regulation at issue explicitly requires the measurement of distance be taken from the pedestrian entrance to the proposed store to the nearest pedestrian entrance of the existing...

Winning a $1 Million Settlement for Estate of Cyclist Killed in Accident

“It was just a horrible situation all around.” That’s how Cramer & Anderson partner D. Randall DiBella recalls a case that concluded successfully in February 2016 with a $1 million settlement to the Estate of Dwight Hipp, 57, an avid cyclist who died as the result of a cycling accident on Route 109 on the morning of Aug. 23, 2014. Mr. Hipp was riding his bicycle east on Route 109 toward Washington, and coming down a hill near the Kimberly Farm when a pick-up truck driven by John Kimberly made a left hand turn directly into Mr. Hipp’s path. He struck the passenger door of the truck and suffered massive internal injuries in the collision. Attorney DiBella was retained to pursue a wrongful death claim, and while the matter might have appeared clear-cut, there were complications along the way to a successful conclusion to the case. Mr. Kimberly, a member of a prominent local family and the grandson of the founder of Kimberly Farm, was charged with negligent homicide, and said he never saw Mr. Hipp approaching on his bike. “The concern you have in all cases when you have no witnesses is whether your decedent was doing something he shouldn’t have been,” Attorney DiBella said in outlining the primary challenge he needed to address and overcome. In this particular case, the police investigation—whose results were not released for a nearly a year after the accident—raised issues that created the potential for John Kimberly’s insurer to argue Mr. Hipp had contributory negligence for the accident. “There were a number of things we had to get over,” said Attorney DiBella....

Randall DiBella Successfully Represents Victim of New Milford House Explosion

Should a case involving the loss of life be labeled a success story by a law firm? Many people’s first reaction would be that any association between death and victory in a legal proceeding is insensitive—especially when the defendant is the business entity that was owned by the person who died. How to address such a situation in a sensitive way, while also acting as a determined advocate for the client, is the challenge that was front and center for Cramer & Anderson partner D. Randall DiBella in a high-profile case that resulted in a successful outcome in November 2015. It’s a case that resulted from an accident that made national news and drew network news crews from New York City to Litchfield County, the fatal explosion that destroyed a house in New Milford, Conn., on Aug. 29, 2012. One neighbor likened the early evening blast to an “A-bomb” in a television interview, and all that remained standing of the house was its chimney. In the end, Attorney DiBella secured a $650,000 settlement for the homeowner, John Wilkinson, who was seriously injured when a gas leak that resulted from the installation of a new hot water heater led to the explosion, which killed the plumber who was called back to the site to address the smell of gas, Anthony James Fratino III, 47, of New Milford. (Wilkinson vs. Fratino Plumbing, Litchfield Superior Court LLI-CV-13-6009649-S) After smelling gas, John Wilkinson had sent his sons, Jake and Everett, to a neighbor’s house. His wife, Alice, who was pregnant at the time, wasn’t home. Tony Fratino had brought his son Nicholas to...

Dan Casagrande successfully defends Danbury’s rejection of waste transfer station.

Dan Casagrande, partner in the Danbury office of Cramer & Anderson LLP, successfully defended the Planning Commission of the City of Danbury an appeal from its denial of a planned trash transfer station. In an 80 page decision (which you can read below) on August 8, 2014, the Superior Court of Danbury upheld Danbury’s denial of a proposed solid waste transfer station, based on substantial evidence supporting the Commission’s concerns regarding odor, traffic safety, and because the proposed project was not in general character with the eastern Danbury neighborhood. Superior Court Judge Sheila Ozalis also found that the proposed site plan did not comply with zoning regulations and that the plaintiff’s 2007 application was incomplete.   In an accompanying article from the Danbury News-Times, city officials have applauded the decision. The City Council’s minority leader, Tom Saadi, stated that this decision vindicates the concern of city residents.   Congratulations on a job well-done!   8.8.14 Memorandum of...