Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company v. WoodAnnotate this Case
Nationwide Mutual Fire Insurance Company and State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company filed a declaratory-judgment action in the federal district court seeking, among other things, a determination of the status of a settlement agreement they had reached with D.V.G., a minor, resolving her claims for coverage stemming from injuries she received in an automobile accident, following her death in a subsequent unrelated automobile accident. The federal district court ultimately concluded that the issue presented involved a question of Alabama law for which there was no clear controlling precedent, and it certified the following question to the Alabama Supreme Court: "Under Alabama law, is an insurance company bound to a settlement agreement negotiated on behalf of an injured minor, if that minor dies before the scheduling of a pro ami hearing which was intended by both sides to obtain approval of the settlement?" The Court answered in the affirmative: "an insurance company is bound to a settlement agreement negotiated on behalf of an injured minor, even if that minor dies before the scheduling of the court hearing that all parties agreed was necessary to obtain approval of the settlement agreement. In accordance with the parties' understanding, such a hearing is still required, and the minor's death does not render that hearing impossible."