Cooper & Elliott Press Release

Estate of Michael W. Griffith Reaches Fourth Settlement Agreement

Posted on Tue, Jun 2, 2015 @ 12:38 PM

Columbus, Ohio – Ohio law firm Cooper & Elliott announces a fourth settlement in the wrongful death case brought by the family of Pastor Michael W. Griffith. Mr. Griffith was abruptly killed by a drunk driver named Evan Kulasa, who was underage and had been overserved alcohol at a party.  Mr. Kulasa also was underinsured.

Initially, it seemed that Mr. Griffith’s family would be compensated only by Mr. Griffith’s underinsured motorist coverage—an amount too small to make an appreciable difference in the family’s altered lives. Already having to adjust to the loss of a loving husband and father, it appeared the family also would have to deal with the loss of income of their primary breadwinner.

But after a determined investigation and vigorous prosecution by the attorneys at Cooper & Elliott, Mr. Griffith’s family has been able to reach three additional settlements. The most recent was reached with the insurer of the host of the party that left Mr. Kulasa intoxicated on the morning he struck and killed Mr. Griffith.

Previous settlements in this case include:

  • An initial settlement with Mr. Griffith’s underinsured motorist coverage carrier.
  • A settlement with the insurer for Mr. Kulasa’s father under a negligent entrustment claim. With Mr. Kulasa’s history of drug and alcohol abuse, criminal record, and poor driving history, Cooper & Elliott successfully argued that his father never should have allowed him to use the car.
  • A settlement with the owner of the apartment complex where the all-night party was held, leaving a minor driver intoxicated at three times the legal state driving limit.

Although no financial settlement will ever replace Michael Griffith to his family, his church, or his community, the money from these settlements will let his family focus on the healing process instead of worrying about financial obligations. The team at Cooper & Elliott is now confident it has found all the responsible parties and has held them accountable for the harm they caused.

The outcome of any client’s case will depend on the particular legal and factual circumstances of the case.