Torts Keyed to Dobbs
State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. v. Campbell
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Campbell (P) caused a collision which led to the death of Ospital and permanent disability of Slusher. They sued him for wrongful death and in tort. His insurers, State Farm, refused to settle with the other two parties though they were ready to accept the maximum policy limit of $25,000 each. Instead, State Farm promised to represent Campbell’s interests and assured him that his assets were safe, leading him to believe that he needed no additional counsel. However, the jury found against Campbell and awarded $185, 849 to Ospital and Slusher. At this time, State Farm refused to pay the excess liability over the policy limit and also refused to post a bond so he could appeal. Instead, he was told he could as well make up his mind to sell his house. He secured legal help on his own and filed an appeal. He also agreed to haveOspital and Slusher’s lawyer representing him in his suit against State Farm for bad faith, fraud and intentionally causing emotional distress. Ospital and Slusher were satisfied to receive 90 percent of any damages awarded to Campbell, in lieu of personal payment from him, in exchange for this help. The appeal filed by Campbell was denied and he was asked to pay the entire judgment amount. This amount was finally paid by State Farm even though it was in excess of his policy limit. Campbell went ahead with his suit against State Farm and won a favorable verdict, the jury awarding him $2.6 million in compensatory damages and $ 145 million in punitive damages. This was later modified to $1 million compensation and $ 25 million as punitive damages. On appeal, the $1 million was retained and the punitive damages restored to $145 million. The Supreme Court granted judicial review of the case records.
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