Recent Supreme Court rulings For 2007

# The state Supreme Court reversed a $6.5 million jury award against a nursing home and its parent company Mariner Health Care Inc. The case involved a severely mentally retarded man whose health deteriorated. Intravenous feeding wasn’t ordered until his final hospitalization on Feb. 2, 2002. He died 14 days later from cardiac arrest caused by pneumonia.The man’s family alleged negligence, medical malpractice and other claims in the wrongful death lawsuit. In throwing out the case, the court ruled there was failure to investigate alleged juror misconduct and the admission of improper evidence.

# The state Supreme Court threw out $1.9 million jury award against an insurance company Horace Mann Life Insurance Co. v. Nunaley. In 2001, Betty Nunaley of Humphreys County purchased life insurance covering her two children. Nunaley said in court papers he thought she had purchased two separate policies to pay a death benefit of $256,514 in the event of death of either of the children. Nunaley had stated that her son wasn’t a smoker, but a medical test showed he did smoke, and Horance Mann Ins. sent an amendment to reduce coverage to $110,295. The insurance agent sent the amendment to Nunaley’s home and the son signed the document as the owner. Nunaley, who purchased the policy, never saw the amendment and Horace Mann didn’t catch the error in signatures, according to the court record. Nunaley said she didn’t find out until three years later when she obtained a copy of the insurance policy. She also said that is when she learned she didn’t have two, single-life insurance policies covering her children, but rather a joint life, first-to-die policy. The state high court reversed the award and ruled in the insurance company’s favor.

# The state Supreme Court ruled on a $36.4 million jury award against Prudential Insurance Co. in a contractual dispute with the family of a deceased McComb physician over a life insurance policy. The case was reversed and the court ruled in favor of Prudential.

# The state Supreme Court ruled on a $15.5 million judgment against DuPont Co. in a lawsuit brought by a Bay St. Louis oyster fisherman who alleged chemicals from a dioxin plant caused his rare blood cancer.

The state Supreme Court threw out the award and remanded case back to Jones County for retrial.
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