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Friday, November 11, 2005

Ind. Decisions - Punitive damages from dead disallowed

"Punitive damages from dead disallowed: Justices say estate can't be held liable" is the headline to a brief AP story in the Louisville Courier Journal. Some quotes:

INDIANAPOLIS -- Indiana law does not allow people to recover punitive damages from a deceased person's estate, the state Supreme Court has ruled.

The ruling, issued Wednesday, upheld a Morgan Circuit Court decision that denied punitive damages sought by two children who were injured in an accident as passengers in a car driven by their father while he was intoxicated.

The father, Jackie Crabtree Jr., died about year later of unrelated causes. The children, through their mother, then sued Crabtree's estate for compensatory and punitive damages. * * *

The plaintiffs appealed the trial court's dismissal of their claim for punitive damages, and the case ultimately reached the state's high court.

In a 3-2 decision, the ruling said most jurisdictions reason that punitive damages are intended to punish the wrongdoer and that goal cannot be accomplished if that person is dead. The Supreme Court majority found that view persuasive.

The decision, issued 11/9/05, is Alicia and Jacelyn Crabtree, b/n/f Kimberly Kemp v. Estate of Jackie L. Crabtree, Jr. Acccess the ILB entry here.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on November 11, 2005 10:45 AM
Posted to Ind. Sup.Ct. Decisions