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Torts Keyed to Epstein
State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. v. Campbell
CaseCast™ – "What you need to know"
Only StudyBuddy Pro offers the complete Case Brief Anatomy*
Access the most important case brief elements for optimal case understanding.
*Case Brief Anatomy includes: Brief Prologue, Complete Case Brief, Brief Epilogue
- The Brief Prologue provides necessary case brief introductory information and includes:
- Topic: Identifies the topic of law and where this case fits within your course outline.
- Parties: Identifies the cast of characters involved in the case.
- Procedural Posture & History: Shares the case history with how lower courts have ruled on the matter.
- Case Key Terms, Acts, Doctrines, etc.: A case specific Legal Term Dictionary.
- Case Doctrines, Acts, Statutes, Amendments and Treatises: Identifies and Defines Legal Authority used in this case.
- The Case Brief is the complete case summarized and authored in the traditional Law School I.R.A.C. format. The Pro case brief includes:
- Brief Facts: A Synopsis of the Facts of the case.
- Rule of Law: Identifies the Legal Principle the Court used in deciding the case.
- Facts: What are the factual circumstances that gave rise to the civil or criminal case? What is the relationship of the Parties that are involved in the case. Review the Facts of this case here:
Plaintiff was driving with his wife. He decided to pass six vans traveling ahead of them on a two-lane highway. Todd Ospital (Ospital) was driving a small car approaching from the opposite direction. To avoid a head-on collision, Ospital swerved onto the shoulder, lost control of his automobile, and collided with a vehicle driven by Robert G. Slusher (Slusher). Ospital was killed and Slusher was rendered permanently disabled. A consensus was reached early on by the investigators and witnesses that Plaintiff’s unsafe pass had caused the crash. Defendant, nonetheless decided to contest liability and declined offers by Slusher and Ospital’s estate to settle the claims for the policy limit of $50,000.00 ($25,000.00 per claimant). Defendant ignored the advice of one of its own investigators and took the case to trial, assuring Plaintiffs that “their assets were safe, that they had no liability for the accident, that Defendant would represent their interests, and that they did not need to procure separate counsel.” The jury found that Plaintiff was 100% at fault, and returned a judgment against Plaintiff for $185,849.00. Defendant refused to cover the $135,849.00 in excess liability. Defendant also refused to post a bond to allow Plaintiff to appeal the judgment against him. Plaintiff obtained his own counsel to appeal the verdict. During the appeal Slusher, Ospital, and Plaintiff reached an agreement whereby Slusher and Ospital agreed not to seek satisfaction of their claims against Plaintiff. In exchange, Plaintiff agreed to pursue a bad faith action against Defendant, and to be represented by Slusher’s and Ospital’s attorneys. According to the agreement, Slusher and Ospital would play a part in all major decisions in the action against Defendant. Slusher and Ospital would receive 90% of any verdict against Defendant. Defendant then paid Plaintiff $135,849.00. Plaintiff filed a complaint against Defendant alleging bad faith, fraud, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Defendant claimed it made an honest mistake. The jury awarded Plaintiff $2.6 million in compensatory damages and $145 million in punitive damages. The trial judge reduced those damages to $1 million and $25 million respectfully. The State Supreme Court reinstated the $145 million punitive damages award. The court concluded that Defendant’s conduct was reprehensible. The court also relied upon Defendant’s “massive wealth” and on testimony indicating “Defendant’s actions, because of their clandestine nature, will be punished at most in one out of every 50,000 cases as a matter of statistical probability,” and concluded that the ratio between punitive and compensatory damages was not unwarranted. Finally, the court noted that the punitive damages award was not excessive when compared to various civil and criminal penalties Defendant could have faced.
- Issue(s): Lists the Questions of Law that are raised by the Facts of the case.
- Holding: Shares the Court's answer to the legal questions raised in the issue.
- Concurring / Dissenting Opinions: Includes valuable concurring or dissenting opinions and their key points.
- Reasoning and Analysis: Identifies the chain of argument(s) which led the judges to rule as they did.
- The Brief Prologue closes the case brief with important forward-looking discussion and includes:
- Policy: Identifies the Policy if any that has been established by the case.
- Court Direction: Shares where the Court went from here for this case.