BY TERRIE MORGAN-BESECKER, STAFF WRITER / PUBLISHED: MARCH 30, 2020
The mother of a Scranton man killed by a drunken driver agreed to a $1 million settlement of a lawsuit filed against the driver and a bar that served him.
Robert Ortiz, 20, died after his car was struck by a vehicle driven by Noah Cohen, 26, in the early morning hours of April 6, 2018.
Police said Cohen, of Scranton, had a blood alcohol level of 0.22% — nearly three times the legal limit — and was driving in excess of 85 mph in a
25 mph zone when he ran a red light at Pittston Avenue and slammed into the driver’s side of Ortiz’s car at Breck Street. Ortiz, a father of two whose second child was born a week after the crash, was thrown from his vehicle and died shortly after at Geisinger Community Medical Center.
Cohen pleaded guilty in December 2018 to homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence of alcohol and other offenses and was sentenced in May to five to 10 years in state prison.
According to recent court filings in Lackawanna County Court, Cohen had been drinking at Levels Bar and Grille, 519 Linden St., just before the crash.
The settlement, filed by the Moran Law Group on behalf of Ana Ortiz, says the bar agreed to pay $950,000 through its insurance carrier. The other $50,000 will be paid by Cohen’s insurance carrier.
The settlement earmarks $350,000 in legal fees to the Moran Law Group, plus $9,838.46 to cover litigation costs and expenses. The $950,000 settlement with Levels will be paid in the form of a structured settlement for the benefit of
Mr. Ortiz’s two children, ages 1 and 4. The guaranteed net payout to the children and the estate under the terms of the settlement will be $1,031,404.58.
“Though no amount of money can fairly compensate for the loss of a loved one, it is our hope that this recovery can provide some measure of closure to the family and will help provide for the future of two small children who will never know their father,” attorney Robert Moran said in a statement.