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Insurance Co. Settles Hockey Case

December 19, 1997

DETROIT (AP) _ The insurance company for the limousine service whose vehicle was involved in the crash that injured three Detroit Red Wings has paid $2 million to settle claims.

United States Fidelity and Guaranty asked U.S. District Judge Gerald Rosen to oversee distribution of the money to team masseur Sergei Mnatsakanov and players Vladimir Konstantinov and Vyacheslav Fetisov.

The insurance company made the request to Rosen because representatives of the three injured Red Wings couldn’t decide how to allocate the money.

``As a company, we want to do what is right,″ USF&G spokeswoman Sue Lovell told the Detroit Free Press in a report Friday. ``It is unfortunate that they have been unable to agree about how that money should be distributed. ... We know that we have the liability and in essence, we told the judge, `Here’s the money; divide it up.‴

Frank Palazzolo, Mnatsakanov’s lawyer, said the insurance company’s request followed ``a very nice meeting to keep things moving along.″ He said there ``has been no falling out at all″ among the injured Red Wings.

USF&G insured the Gambino Limousine Service vehicle that crashed June 13 in Birmingham. Driver Richard Gnida and Fetisov suffered minor injuries, but Konstantinov and Mnatsakanov were in comas for weeks and are still undergoing rehabilitation.

Treatment for the types of injuries suffered by Mnatsakanov and Konstantinov costs millions of dollars, said Michael Dabbs, president of the Brain Injury Association of Michigan.

The men’s lifetime medical bills will be covered by USF&G under Michigan’s no-fault insurance law, Palazzolo said. The company’s $2 million payment is in addition to the medical costs, he said.

Konstantinov is being treated at an undisclosed location in Florida. Mnatsakanov is recovering at his Grosse Pointe Woods home.

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