BRIDGEPORT - The family of a Naugatuck landscaper, who died in a tree cutting accident while working at a Middlebury home in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, has been awarded $1.2 million.

Superior Court Judge Mark Taylor approved the settlement of a wrongful death lawsuit brought by the family of Michael Pranulis against his employer, K. Landscaping of Waterbury.

“This accident was a tragedy and could have been avoided,” said the family’s lawyer, Raymond W. Ganim. “No amount of money can ever compensate the family of this loved man for this loss of life but this judgement by the court can and will ease the loss to the family.”

Shortly after 10:30 a.m. on Nov. 4, 2012, Middlebury Police and Middlebury Volunteer Fire Department personnel were sent to 400 Charcoal Ave., Middlebury, after receiving reports of a man who fell.

Upon arrival, police said they found Pranulis, 53, of 36 Winthrop Ave., Naugatuck, suffering from head trauma and multiple fractures. He was transported to Saint Mary's Hospital in Waterbury, where he later died from his injuries.

The lawsuit states that Pranulis had climbed the tree and had a rope with him used to tie to the portions of tree that were being cut to lower them to the ground by K. Landscaping employees acting as groundsmen controlling the other end of the rope. Too much slack was allowed in the rope by K. Landscape employees as a large limb was being cut and that as a result, when the cut limb fell it caused a jerking of the tree which snapped the tree beneath where Pranulis was working, the suit states. The snapped tree, along with Pranulis, unexpectedly fell to the ground resulting in Pranulis' death.