UVM settles lawsuit for $325,000

UVM settled a lawsuit stemming from a 2001 car crash that killed three people, involving a driver who was part of a University study of the drug, buprenorphine.Twenty-five-year-old Theodore Pecor, who was taking the opioid-dependent treatment drug at the time, veered in to oncoming traffic traveling in excess of 100 miles per hour, hitting a car carrying three men on their way to IBM in Essex Junction, Vt., according to public record.Lyman Dezotell Jr. of Derby Line, Vt., Kevin Baker, of Coventry, Vt, and Dean Fountain, of Newport, Vt, died from the collision.The drug, now the standard of care worldwide for opioid-dependent individuals, was used to treat well over 1,000 people in the study UVM conducted, director of University Communications Enrique Corredera said.  Maria Dezotell, a widow of one of the victims of the accident, alleges that after administering the drug to Pecor, the University did not take enough precaution before allowing Pecor to drive home.”The lawsuit [was commenced] based primarily upon the belief that buprenorphine was a sedative, was known to be a sedative by UVM, and they released Pecor knowing that they had consumed a sedative,” Dezotells attorney, Duncan Kilmartin said.UVM did not admit any wrongdoing.”We believe we acted appropriately and followed all pertinent protocols for the safe delivery of this FDA-approved drug,” Corredera said. “The settlement was essentially a business decision based on the high costs of litigating cases of this nature and the prospect of even more significant costs associated with such cases going to trial,” he said.The University, which paid $800,000 to settle another lawsuit regarding the accident, settled the case for $325,000, which was covered, in full, by insurance, Corredera said.