$1m awarded in wife's death

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Stratford woman killed where Fairfield stop sign wasn't

by Daniel Tepfer
Connecticut Post

November 9, 1996

BRIDGEPORT — A Superior Court jury Friday awarded more than $1 million to a Stratford surgeon whose wife was killed in an auto accident in Fairfield because a construction firm failed to put a stop sign at the end of a street.

The six-member jury deliberated about three hours before finding the Peter Mitchell Construction Leasing and Development Corp. of Greenwich, negligent in the death of 53-year-old Judith W. Glass, the mother of five children.

The jury originally awarded Glass's husband, Stratford orthopedic surgeon Macellis Glass, more than $2 million but then cut it to $1,040,250 after determining the woman was 50 percent liable for her own death.

Glass' lawyer, Vincent Musto, said, "It is a great decision and an affirmation of this woman's life."

Officials of the construction company could not be reached.

According to Musto, on April 4, 1989, the construction firm was doing a renovation job at the Jewish Home for the Elderly in Fairfield, that included an access road. He said the road was to have a stop sign at Jefferson Street, but the company had failed to put it up.

Glass, a volunteer at the center, drove the access road and, not seeing a stop sign proceeded into Jefferson, where her car was struck by another, he said. She died at St. Vincent's Medical Center.

During the trial of a week and a half, Musto said an officer with the construction company testified they had the equipment to put up the stop sign and that it would have taken about 15 minutes.

"They gave no excuse for not putting up the sign, only that they had not gotten to it," Musto continued. "If there had been a stop sign there, she would be alive today.