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Reed v. General Motors Corp.

United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
773 F.2d 660 (1985)


David Reed (plaintiff) and his passengers were injured in a Louisiana car accident, which Reed alleged was caused by Brent Boudreaux and Gerard Meche. Reed sued Boudreaux and Meche, their insurance companies, and General Motors Corporation (defendants) for damages. A federal court had diversity jurisdiction to hear the case. Louisiana law allowed defendants to present evidence of their inability to pay large damage awards, and the trial judge allowed Boudreaux to show his insurance coverage was only $5,000. The judge also allowed Reed to introduce evidence that Meche's insurance coverage was $500,000. The jury found Boudreaux was 70% liable for the accident and Meche was 30% responsible. The jury awarded Reed $450,000 in damages. To the extent Boudreaux was unable to contribute to paying this amount, Louisiana law made Meche and his insurer fully responsible for payment. Meche and his insurer appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, arguing that the judge erred in admitting evidence of the amount of Meche's insurance coverage.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Rubin, J.)

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