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Rice’s family settles suit against country club

The estate of an Amherst teenager who was fatally struck by a car in 2011 has settled its lawsuit against a country club that served alcohol to the driver, Dr. James G. Corasanti, before the crash.

The wrongful-death lawsuit is still moving ahead against Corasanti, a Getzville physician who was driving the BMW that hit and killed Alexandria “Alix” Rice, 18, as she rode a longboard along Heim Road the night of July 8.

Terms of the agreement with Transit Valley Country Club were not made public.

“The settlement that was reached between the club and the family of Alix Rice was a confidential settlement,” said Lisa Coppola, an attorney representing Transit Valley.

She declined to comment further.

Terrence M. Connors, who is representing the estate of Alix Rice, also declined to discuss a dollar amount. “The terms of it require me to say only that it’s confidential,” he said.

Both Corasanti, 57, and Transit Valley were named as defendants in the original wrongful-death lawsuit filed about five weeks after Alix’s death.

Alix’s mother, Tammy A. Schueler, filed the lawsuit as the person appointed to handle the estate.

It alleged that Transit Valley served alcohol to Corasanti at a “martini golf” outing when the doctor was visibly intoxicated.

While Transit Valley will no longer be a defendant in the case, a civil trial against Corasanti is set to begin Sept. 3 in front of State Supreme Court Justice John L. Michalski.

“Our focus in this litigation has always been on the conduct of Dr. Corasanti that evening, and that is the focus of the family, as well,” Connors said.

In a 2012 verdict that stirred public outrage, Corasanti was convicted of misdemeanor drunken driving but acquitted of felony charges, including manslaughter and leaving the scene of an accident. He served about eight months in jail before being released in April to resume his medical career.

The country club’s role in the case wasn’t a primary concern, said Richard J. Rice, Alix’s father, who plans to sit through the civil trial and wants to see Corasanti held more accountable for his actions.

“I want to see justice finally served in some degree,” he said.

“He has not paid a price for killing Alexandria. He only served a little time in jail for being a drunk driver.”

The wrongful-death lawsuit was complicated by a Surrogate’s Court dispute between Alix’s parents.

The couple divorced a year after Alix’s birth, and although Schueler was sole custodial parent for most of Alix’s life, Alix had been living with her father in the weeks before her death.

To resolve the dispute, Erie County Surrogate Barbara Howe appointed Connors to represent the estate instead of Christopher J. O’Brien, the attorney Schueler had hired.

Rice said Thursday that he and Schueler were in agreement on the current litigation and that “outside forces” created the earlier friction.

“Those forces are no longer an issue,” he said. “I don’t know that we ever were not on the same page.”

Schueler could not be reached to comment.