On January 25, 2017, a $422,018 settlement was reached between Robert A. Coutu, an auto body shop owner, and Mitchell Ducharme, a 25-year-old Lebanon man. Attorney Peter J. Brown of Trantolo & Trantolo’s Hartford office had the privilege of representing Ducharme, who was attacked by two pit bulls at Coutu Auto Sales in Willimantic.
Veteran Attacked by Two Pit Bulls
In August 2013, the 25-year-old victim was visiting his stepbrother Jeremy Slater at Coutu Auto Sales, where he worked. Slater had asked Ducharme to bring by a tool to help him fix his car that wouldn’t start. When Ducharme arrived at the shop, he was approached by a dog who Jeremy said he knew from the junkyard.
As Ducharme let the pit bull sniff his hand, another pit bull advanced on him and both dogs attacked Ducharme for 10 minutes. The incident left the victim, a war veteran, with severe dog bites, lacerations and puncture wounds. During the deposition, Attorney Brown said, “The attack exacerbated the PTSD related to his time in Afghanistan.”
The brutal dog attack resulted in two wrist surgeries, scarring and disfigurement, and 18 percent disability in Ducharme’s upper left arm.
Ducharme is very pleased with his settlement, which was reached the night before jury selection was set to begin. According to Attorney Brown, “It’s a good result. Who knows what the jury could have done. They could have offered $250,000. [Ducharme] was very happy with the ending and he decided to take it.”
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