BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Dr. James Corasanti and Alix Rice’s family have reached a settlement. The family’s attorney Terry Connors said the parties have met since last Friday, and reached an agreement Tuesday morning.
Connors said all parties participated in the negotiations, and he believes the family’s goals were met.
Details from the settlement will remain confidential. However, Connors said the amount is at the top end of reported settlements or verdicts in New York involving the death of an 18 year old. He added that Corasanti paid a significant amount of it out of his own pocket, which is rare in civil cases since insurance companies usually pay the settlements.
“The family did not wish to be engaged in litigation for the next three to five years of their life. They felt that although there would never be closure with respect to the loss of Alix Rice, that this does bring some closure to this chapter and they can spend the balance of their time celebrating the life of Alix Rice.”
Alix’s Rice’s mother and father would have liked for a jury to say Dr. James Corasanti is responsible for their daughter’s death.
“I mean, I feel the man’s guilty and I would have loved to have heard a jury say yes, he’s guilty,” said Tammy Schuler, Alix’s mother.
That never happened in the criminal trial — and we never reached that point in the civil trial.
Tuesday morning, Corasanti was absent from the hearing in which the sides announced a settlement and excused the jury.
Corasanti’s lawyer added that his client is sorry.
“He too is a father. And he is deeply remorseful for what happened here, and has nothing but the deepest sympathy for the parents of this young girl,” Richard Sullivan said.
“I don’t know (Corasanti.) He’s never introduced himself to me, never spoken a word to me. As far as what he feels? He pays for everything he does in his life. It’s just another expense, I think, for him,” said Richard Rice, Alix’s father.
It’s quite clear that Alix Rice’s parents have mixed feelings about the settlement. But their attorney Terry Connors said the undisclosed amount was a good figure to avoid years of appeals and legal wrangling to see any money. And the jury wouldn’t necessarily have control over the amount anyway.
“The only concern you have is that given our wrongful death statute, there are severe limitations on what they can award. So if the jury were to say $10 million, the appelate court in Rochester would have reduced that,” Connors said.
Once again her parents spoke about their loss and what they’ll miss about their daughter.
“Everything. Her sweet, sweet voice. Her beautiful smile,” Schuler said.
“She used to give very big hugs and actually lift me off the ground,” Richard Rice said.
And now they can grieve their daughter without Dr. Corasanti’s name in the next breath.
“Everything and every way that he’s affected my life is now in the past. And he can’t affect me anymore. And forward I will go,” Schuler said.
Attorneys from both sides thanked the jury Tuesday morning in court. Sullivan called it a difficult case, involving a tragedy that impacted many people.
Sullivan added his client is a private person.
“You can only hope that you lessen the pain. He has pain too, a child lost her life, his life changed forever there’s no question about that. So like I said, you don’t put this behind you,” Sullivan said.
Background on the Corasanti trial
- The family of Alix Rice was suing Corasanti for the death of their daughter
- Rice was riding her longboard in Amherst, in 2011, when she was struck by a car driven by the doctor
- Corasanti was acquitted of the most serious criminal charges in Rice’s death, but was convicted of misdemeanor DWI.
- Rice family was seeking monetary damages for the pain she suffered before dying, and for the economic loss that they will suffer by her not being around to care for them when they get older.
- First responders, the victim’s coworker and Corasanti’s wife testified during the trial.