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Judge says DWI crash settlement sealed to protect young girl

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  1. Court Access
According to the New Jersey Law Journal: The settlement for the quadriplegic girl in the notorious Giants Stadium drunken-driving case…

According to the New Jersey Law Journal:

The settlement for the quadriplegic girl in the notorious Giants Stadium drunken-driving case must be kept secret so her estranged father won’t learn how much money she has and try to steal it, a judge says in an opinion made public on Friday.

New Jersey Superior Court Judge Robert Wilson rejected arguments by open courts advocate Public Citizen, of Washington, D.C., that the presumption of openness and public interest in the issue of drunkenness at American sporting events outweighed the parties’ privacy interests.

A Bergen County, N.J., jury awarded the girl, Antonia Verni, $105 million in 2005, the largest dram shop verdict in history. Evidence said defendant Harry M. Stevens Inc. served beer to the drunken fan who hit Antonia’s car after the game. But an appeals court reversed and Wilson sealed the amount of the subsequent settlement for reasons that he also sealed.

On Friday, the judge made public his June 7 opinion explaining his rationale, and it was all about the girl’s father, Ronald Verni.