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Jury says state trooper negligent in Boston Marathon accident

Posted by Tom Coakley  February 18, 2011 04:39 PM

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A Framingham woman was awarded $15,500 in damages by Middlesex Superior Court jury today after they found a state police motorcyclist was negligent when he struck her as she stood along the Boston Marathon route.

Norma Shulman, now 65, was watching the race behind the white line near Mill Street in Natick on April 16, 2007 when a motorcycle driven by Sgt. Dennis Bertulli, knocked her to the ground.

In addition to claims of negligence, Shulman also sued Bertulli, who has since retired, for battery, and sued an investigating officer, Lt. William Cederquist for civil rights violations, alleging that the state police tried to blame her for the crash. The jury ruled against her on those claims.

"Regardless of the verdict, we did the right thing by pursuing this issue," Shulman said in a telephone interview today. "They tried to cover it up and blame it on me."

In a statement issued today , state police spokesman David Procopio said, “We are pleased that, after considering the plaintiff’s claims of a civil rights violation by Lt. Cederquist and of battery by Mr. Bertulli, the jury then promptly rejected both allegations. The jury agreed that the evidence proves both allegations were unfounded. As for the remaining count, we respect the jury's decision but disagree with its finding that the department was negligent, and believe the facts presented to the court support our position: this incident was an unfortunate accident.”

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