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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Settlement proposed in lawsuit over Pelham fireworks explosion

NASHUA – Two families are close to settling a court case following a huge fireworks explosion that injured several people more than a year ago.

Patrick and Marci Foy, of Greenfield, sued Christopher and Jeanne Pappathan, of Pelham, after the Foys and their young daughter, Olivia, were wounded when a stockpile of fireworks exploded on the Pappathan’s back porch July 4, 2012. They asked for damages to compensate them for pain and suffering, lost wages, loss of enjoyment of life, medical bills and expenses, according to the suit. ...

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NASHUA – Two families are close to settling a court case following a huge fireworks explosion that injured several people more than a year ago.

Patrick and Marci Foy, of Greenfield, sued Christopher and Jeanne Pappathan, of Pelham, after the Foys and their young daughter, Olivia, were wounded when a stockpile of fireworks exploded on the Pappathan’s back porch July 4, 2012. They asked for damages to compensate them for pain and suffering, lost wages, loss of enjoyment of life, medical bills and expenses, according to the suit.

A proposed settlement agreement was filed at the Hillsborough County Superior Court last week that would pay the Foys’ insurance company about $6,300, attorney fees of about $9,600 and then use the remaining $22,500 to set up an annuity for the Foys’ daughter that would pay out more than $24,000 when she turns 22 and then again when she turns 25, according to court documents.

The settlement hasn’t yet been approved by the court.

The Foys’ attorney David Gottesman wasn’t immediately available for comment Monday. The Pappathans didn’t immediately return a phone call Monday afternoon.

Patrick Foy was holding Olivia on the rear deck at 40 Dodge Road in Pelham to watch the fireworks display when a firework landed on a pallet-size pile of unwrapped fireworks stacked in a corner of the deck, according to the suit.

Patrick Foy had time to dive down the deck stairs but was “engulfed in white fire” and landed in the backyard. Marci Foy ran after her husband and daughter and her flip-flops were “blasted right off her feet.”

“Total chaos ensued with screaming and crying as massive injuries were caused to many people at the scene,” according to the suit.

All three Foys suffered extensive burns, some of which required skin grafts, Gottesman said.

One of the court filings shows that at least $11,500 was spent on medical bills to Shriners Hospital for Children in Boston, Southern New Hampshire Medical Center, Monadnock Community Hospital and Comstar Ambulance.

The settlement agreement doesn’t specify whether the Pappathans or their insurance company would pay the settlement.

In all, 13 people, including five children, suffered varying degrees of injury from either the exploding fireworks or resulting fire. The two children most seriously hurt were Ben Bertini, then 2 years old, and Tyler Burnelle, 18 months old at the time.

Their injuries were severe enough that they were airlifted to Shriners Hospital in Boston. Tyler was released the next afternoon, and doctors placed Ben in a medically induced coma shortly after his arrival, according to family members.

The Foys participated in a safety video this spring that warned of the dangers of fireworks.

Joseph G. Cote can be reached at 594-6415 or jcote@nashua
telegraph.com. Also, follow Cote on Twitter (@Telegraph_JoeC).