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Watson v. State Farm Fire and Casualty Insurance Co.
Louisiana Supreme Court
469 So. 2d 967 (1985)
Ora Watson (plaintiff) filed a lawsuit against Earl Creel and his insurer, State Farm Fire and Casualty Insurance Company (defendants), for the wrongful death of Doyle Watson—her husband and the father of her seven children. Doyle died in a hunting accident when Earl’s minor son Shane was left alone with a high-powered rifle that he used to shoot Doyle in the head after he mistook him for a deer. Ora alleged that Earl was negligent because Earl gave Shane a high-powered rifle on Shane’s 12th birthday, because Earl did not properly instruct Shane how to use the rifle, and because Earl failed to properly supervise Shane at the time of the accident. Earl and Shane contended that their fault, if any, was very slight and that the accident would not have happened but for Doyle’s failure to wear a hunter-orange vest as required by Louisiana law or his failure to signal his presence when he walked into the area he had designated for hunting. The jury found Doyle 100% at fault and rendered a verdict for Earl and State Farm. The First Circuit Court of Appeal affirmed, after finding that a jury’s finding of fact should not be disturbed if it is based on a reasonable evaluation of credibility. Ora appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Calogero, J.)
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