Archive for Saturday, May 20, 2006

Ruling in insurance case overturned on appeal

May 20, 2006

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The Kansas Court of Appeals on Friday overturned a Douglas County judge's decision in a lawsuit related to a freak accident suffered by a Kansas University golfer.

On May 10, 1999, Brad Davis fell 11 feet from his apartment balcony on Monterey Way after he leaned on a banister to throw car keys to his fiancee and the railing gave way. He landed on his feet while wearing flip-flop sandals, cracked his right heel in eight places, then collapsed backward and broke the third lumbar in his back.

Davis filed a lawsuit against the complex's owner, Franklin Finney LLC, and against Master Plan Management, which eventually led to a legal dispute between insurance companies.

Highlands Insurance Group Inc., the insurer for Master Plan, filed a lawsuit against Patrons Insurance, the company that insured the complex's owner. The suit alleged Patrons shirked its financial obligation to contribute to the management's defense.

But Douglas County District Judge Jack Murphy granted Patrons' motion to dismiss the lawsuit after finding that Patrons had met its obligations.

The appeals court ruled Friday that it was a mistake for Murphy to dismiss the lawsuit, and it sent the case back to Douglas County for further action.

"Both Patrons and Highlands were defending against the same risk. All of the defendants had a common interest in the lawsuit," the appeals court wrote.

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