Friday, February 20, 2015
You are suing who????
"The wrongful death says that heirs or personal representatives can sue when the death of a person is caused by the wrongful act or the neglect of another and the survival action law also allows for similar lawsuits," stated the Utah Court of Appeals.
Third District Judge Paul Maughan had dismissed the case in Jan 2014 but last week, the Utah Court of Appeals overturned that decision and stated that Barbara Bagley could sue herself in a wrongful death suit. Bagley, then 48 was driving with her husband Bradley Michael Vom Baur, 55, east on Interstate 80 about 17 miles from Battle Mountain Nev on December 27 2011. Bagley evidently fell asleep at the wheel and their Land Rover SUV veered off the road and she overcorrected to the left and then right. The vehicle ran onto the shoulder and overturned, ending up on it's roof. Vom Baur was ejected from the vehicle about 15 feet from where the vehicle ended up. Bagley and Vom Baur were seriously injured and both were transported to the hospital.
Bagley was reported to have suffered broken ribs, a concussion, a shattered wrist and both lungs were punctured. Her husband was listed in critical condition with broken ribs, fractures in his spine, internal bleeding, a fractured hip and bleeding on the brain. He passed away on Jan 6 2012 after the family decided to discontinue extensive care for him. The couple's dog Dooley was lost during the accident and was missing in the desert for 53 days until he was found and returned to Bagley.
Vom Baur was born Aug 6 1956 in Salt Lake City UT and earned a BS of Communications from USC as well as a Masters of Advertising from Northwest University. He worked with advertising firms Ted Bates in NYC and J Walter Thompson in Chicago early in his career. Later he had his work recognized by The Wall Street journal and the New York Times as well as having TV ideas optioned to Warner Brothers and the Walt Disney Company. In 2006, he started Turbo Express Car Wash and Detail in Salt Lake City UT. He met Bagley in 1990 when he had returned to the Salt Lake City area and they had been together for 21 years. He left behind three step children and a grandchild when he died.
It was reported on his blog that he was beginning chemotherapy in Oct 2011 for treatment of stage 4 colon cancer that had spread to his liver and lungs. He was reportedly starting a second round of chemo on Oct 19th and had been responding well to the treatments by the last related post of Oct 31st. The next post in the blog was on Dec 29 after the accident so it is unknown how well he was doing at the time of the accident.
The court ruling clears the way for Bagley to sue in her capacity as the representative of Vom Baur's estate, the driver of the vehicle during the accident that killed him. Bagley will be suing herself legally and somehow, the court system sees this as a legitimate use of the court system's time. Bagley's suit states that she was negligent for failing to maintain proper control of the vehicle and for failure to keep a proper lookout as she was driving.
To make things even more interesting is the fact that Bagley is being represented by two sets of lawyers. One set will be representing Bagley and her responsibilities to her husband's estate and the second set will represent her and her insurance company for her role as the driver in the accident. If the lawsuit is allowed to continue, the jury will be given the task of deciding how much to compensate Bagley for the harm she has done to herself. Her lawsuit is seeking an unspecified amount for damages that include medical expenses, funeral expenses, loss of past and future financial support, physical pain that Vom Baur suffered before he died and the loss of his love and companionship. If it does move forward to an actual monetary award, the estate creditors would be paid before anything goes to the estate, which only she is the heir of.
It is difficult for me to comprehend how the court system could find that this logically is something to allow but it seems that they felt it was. I would hope that medically, Vom Baur was on his road to beating cancer and could look forward to many more years to enjoy life. If not, that will certainly play a role as well into the analysis of any award the jury may decide on. One can only hope that she has not filed this lawsuit so that her dogs and her can enjoy a life on easy street thanks to an insurance company.