SNOW HILL — An Ocean Pines man, serving a 10-year sentence for causing life-changing injuries to a then-18-month-old child, last week filed a motion to dismiss a civil suit brought against him and two businesses by the victims’ family.
On Dec. 16, 2011, Andre Kaczynski, 49, got in his vehicle while under the influence of drugs, drove across the Route 90 bridge, turned left on Coastal Highway and barreled up the roadway at speeds approaching 100 mph before crashing into the rear of a vehicle driven by Anne Marie DelRicco, who was stopped at a red light at 142nd Street. The force of the collision totaled the passenger car and seriously injured DelRicco and her then 18-month-old daughter Ava.
Kaczynski later pleaded guilty to all of the charges against him, including causing life-threatening injuries by motor vehicle while impaired by a controlled dangerous substance and was ultimately sentenced to 10 year in jail.
Nearly three years later, the DelRicco family in April filed a civil suit against Kaczynski and two businesses he operates, including Bayside Contracting and Expert Roofing and Remodeling, seeking an undisclosed amount of damages for negligence and other counts. Motor vehicle torts set a base level of $75,000 in damages for plaintiffs and the DelRiccos are seeking at least that amount on each of the five counts spelled out in the civil suit, although a judge or jury would certainly have the discretion and likely would award more in damages based on the evidence in the case.
Last week, however, Kaczynski, through his attorney, filed a motion to dismiss the case, essentially denying any allegations of liability against him and calling into question the statute of limitations for the suit, among other issues.
In the suit, the injuries suffered by the victims are outlined, along with the continued treatment they continue to receive. For example, Anne Marie DelRicco suffered a broken arm, head trauma, a concussion, a blood clot in her brain and other injuries. Perhaps more significantly, Ava suffered a ruptured spleen, two broken legs, a crushed foot, a traumatic brain injury, blindness, deafness, an inability to speak and other life-changing injuries. Life will never be the same for the child, who became a rallying point for a community enraged by the incident, and her family. A moving vigil was held in Ocean City shortly after the incident.
“She has required and will continue to require 24-hour care,” the complaint reads. “She is dependent on others for toileting, feeding, bathing and all activities of daily life. She requires regular consultation with nutritionists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, speech therapists and other medical specialists.”
The suit alleges negligence on Kaczynski’s part and attempts to hold him liable for the life-changing injuries to both victims.
“The defendant operated his vehicle in a negligent and reckless manner by operating under the influence of drugs, exceeding the speed limit, failing to give his full attention to driving, failing to yield the right-of-way and slamming into the rear of Mrs. DelRicco’s vehicle,” the complaint reads. “As a direct and proximate cause of Kaczynski’s negligence, Mrs. DelRicco sustained physical injury, mental anguish and other economic and non-economic injuries. Some of the injuries are permanent and disabling and will require continuing medical care and treatment.”
The suit also names Kaczynski’s two businesses and attempts to hold them liable for the damages as well.
“Bayside Contracting and Expert Roofing and Remodeling knew or should have known Kaczynski was a dangerous, incompetent, unfit and reckless driver,” the complaint reads. “Bayside Contracting and Expert Roofing and Remodeling entrusted Kacyznski with its vehicle with actual knowledge he had a repeated history of drug abuse, traffic violations and crime violations. They knew or should have known of Kaczynski’s dangerous and irresponsible propensities, which were exacerbated by his frequent drug and alcohol use.”
Last week, however, Kaczynski filed a formal answer to the complaint, seeking a dismissal of the case. Essentially, he denies all allegations of liability against him, says the complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, calls into question statute of limitations with the complaint and raises an affirmative defense of contributory negligence.
Naturally, Kaczynski’s attorney must attempt any and all measures to get the suit dismissed, but one section of the answer calls into question the extent of the victims’ injuries and their ongoing treatment needs.
“He specifically denies the nature and extent of the injuries alleged and the fair, reasonableness and necessity of the treatment and the casual relationship to the accident complained of,” the formal answer to the suit reads.
The case is scheduled for a settlement conference in November with a tentative trial laid in for Dec. 10-11.