The family of the late Oakdale Police Officer Paul Katuszonek, who was tragically killed on Nov. 8, 2012 when his Honda Accord was rear ended by a semi-tractor trailer on Highway 132 in Modesto, has filed a lawsuit claiming wrongful death, negligence, and “survivor actions.”
The lawsuit was filed on Feb. 20 by the law offices of Steven A. Fabbro against Caltrans, Gold Star Foods, Inc. and its employee driver Jose Santos Hermosillo. The suit requests an unspecific amount of damages, including punitive damages, which the family of Officer Katuszonek claimed to have suffered as a result of his death.
“This is a tragic case involving the death of a very promising and admirable individual. Officer Katuszonek was a role model for his colleagues, and the core of his family. His death was unnecessary and has been a devastating loss for his wife and young child,” said Attorney Steven Fabbro representing the Katuszonek family
In a case like this, a “survivor action” is brought on behalf of the deceased person’s heirs and seeks compensation for pain and suffering, mental distress, or any other form of compensatory damage unique to the deceased prior to death, such as lost future earnings. The personal representatives of the estate, Katuszonek’s wife, Shannon Katuszonek, and Katuszonek’s daughter, Ava are being represented by Fabbro.
According to Fabbro, a survivor action claim allows the basis for punitive damages.
“This is a very young widow and a very young child who had an essential part of the family core ripped from their lives and heart,” said Fabbro. “They lost not only emotional support but financial support.”
Officials from Caltrans and Gold Star Foods would not comment due to pending litigation.
On Nov. 16, last year, officers from all over California joined with the Oakdale Police Department for a solemn funeral procession leaving from the department’s North Second Avenue headquarters, through the city, and toward Lakewood Memorial Park in Hughson to attend the memorial service for Officer Katuszonek.