What to expect at Corasanti civil trial

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Jury selection will begin on Monday in the civil trial against Dr. James Corasanti.

Four years ago he hit and killed 18-year-old Alix Rice on Heim Road in Amherst. Dr. Corasanti insists he didn’t know he hit her.

One of his defense attorney’s, Tom Burton said, “He had no idea that the young lady had impacted with his car.”

The victim’s father, Richard Rice told News 4 after the 2012 criminal trial, that he refuses to accept the defense team’s description of the deadly crash. “It offends me to no end to hear anyone call it an accident,” Rice said.

Dr. Corasanti served time behind bars for a misdemeanor DWI and was acquitted of all felony charges including manslaughter.

News 4 Legal Analyst Frank Clark says the civil trial will likely be very different from the criminal case, partly because of the standard of proof.

“In a criminal case, the standard of proof is beyond a reasonable doubt,” Clark said. “In a civil trial, they call it a preponderance of the evidence, which means 52 percent to 48 percent. The standard is much lower than a criminal case.”

Clark said the plaintiff may try the case differently than the prosecutor did. They could call witnesses or experts that weren’t part of the original trial.

He also said lawyers for both sides have a great advantage because they can look at the strong and weak components of the criminal trial.

“For example, his claim that he didn’t know that he hit something; I think the civil attorneys will try to put on proof even expert testimony that the claim is not a credible assertion,” he said. “And Likewise defense lawyers. They know where the jury didn’t buy the criminal case in some areas and they know that the plaintiff’s lawyer is going to hit on that. So they are going to be prepared to rebut it.”

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