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Hern v. Safeco Insurance Co. of Illinois
Montana Supreme Court
125 P.3d 597 (2005)
Becky Hern was a passenger on a motorcycle driven by her uninsured fiancé when the motorcycle crashed, killing Becky. At the time of her death, Becky lived with her parents, Ardell Hern (plaintiff) and Robert Hern (plaintiff). Ardell and Robert had a multi-car insurance policy with Safeco Insurance Company (defendant), which covered four cars and provided $500,000 in uninsured-motorist coverage per car. Ardell, as personal representative of Becky’s estate, and Robert, as Becky’s survivor, sued for $2,000,000. A jury awarded damages totaling $3.8 million. A portion of the award was for survival damages and included compensation for the value of Becky’s household services and for the loss of Becky’s established course of living. The remainder of the award was for wrongful-death damages. The trial court denied Safeco’s motion for a new trial and remitted damages to $2,000,000. Safeco appealed, arguing that the trial court had erred by instructing the jury that damages for the loss of Becky’s established course of living and damages for loss of Becky’s household services could be awarded as survivorship damages.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Cotter, J.)
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