Westport's Stew Leonard Settles Lawsuit Over Friend's Death On Powerboat

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Stew Leonard recently settled a multi-million dollar lawsuit stemming from the death of his friend on a powerboat in 2011.
Stew Leonard recently settled a multi-million dollar lawsuit stemming from the death of his friend on a powerboat in 2011. Photo Credit: File

WESTPORT, Conn. -- Supermarket magnate and Westport resident Stew Leonard agreed to settle a multimillion-dollar lawsuit stemming from the death of a friend who was thrown off Leonard's powerboat in 2011, according to ctnews.com. 

The settlement was reached just before the wrongful death case was set to go to trial. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed, but court documents revealed a previous settlement offer to be $7.5 million, ctnews.com reported. 

Barbara Speranza brought the suit against Leonard after her husband, Robert, was thrown from Leonard's powerboat in the Caribbean after it hit a 12-foot wave in August 2011. 

The wave that struck the boat smashed through the windshield and nearly capsized the vessel while the group was traveling from St. Maarten to St. Thomas. 

The lawsuit stated that the boat should not have been taken out in the conditions since there was a small craft advisory in effect at the time. 

Robert Speranza and his son, Tom, were both swept to the back of the boat with the force of the wave hit the boat. Tom was able to hold on to a railing, but Robert Speranza was thrown into the water unconscious, ctnews.com said. 

The captain of the ship recovered Robert Speranza from the water, but CPR efforts proved ineffective, according to ctnews.com. 

Leonard founded his dairy store in Norwalk and now has locations in Danbury and Newington and in Yonkers, N.Y.  Leonard's son, Stew Leonard Jr. now runs those stores. 

Click here to read the full ctnews.com story. 

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