The suit named The Waldron Public House, which is the former McFadden’s; Luna, a Latin restaurant next door; and J. Gardella’s, which is down the street, as defendants.
The suit was filed on behalf of Daniel Empson who was injured Nov. 19, 2016, when Kuiper drove the wrong way down Union Avenue SE and struck Empson’s parked car head-on. Empson said he was thrown to the ground and claims he suffered a fractured shoulder as a result.
Empson’s attorney, Brian Molde, announced the suit last fall, saying there had been a half-dozen depositions collected from people who witnessed Kuiper’s actions the night of the crash, starting at The Waldron House, where he was attending a retirement party for retiring prosecutor Bill Forsyth. The suit claimed Kuiper then moved on to the other bars named in the suit.
None of the five attorneys involved will now talk about the suit, likely because of a nondisclosure agreement. As a result, the terms of the settlement are not known.
The criminal case against Kuiper continues with a hearing planned in May. He faces charges of reckless driving causing serious injuring and a moving violation causing serious injury.
He does not face drunken driving charges, however, because police didn’t give him a breathalyzer at the scene or take him for a blood test.
In phone calls, the lieutenant on duty, the first officer on the scene and a sergeant discussed how to avoid giving Kuiper a breathalyzer and downplay the role of alcohol in reports. They didn’t think those calls were being recorded, but they were and were released to the public last autumn.
As a result of the way they handled the crash, the lieutenant lost his job, the sergeant was suspended and demoted, and the first officer on the scene was also disciplined.
Kuiper resigned from the prosecutor’s office and is now in private practice.