Bridges v. ShieldsAnnotate this Case
Hazel Frazier died, leaving behind her husband, Appellant Curtis Bridges, and her seven children, who were the stepchildren of Elree Frazier, a previous husband who died after taking the medication Vioxx. Later, one of the stepchildren brought a claim against Merck Company, the manufacturer of Vioxx, on behalf of Mr. Frazier, for the wrongful death of Mr. Frazier. The settlement proceeds were funneled into the estate of Ms. Frazier for distribution to Mr. Frazier's stepchildren. After Appellant was appointed the administrator for Ms. Frazier's estate, Appellant filed a claim stating that he was entitled to receive one-third of the proceeds obtained from the Merck settlement because of his curtesy interest. The district court rejected Appellant's claim. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that because Ms. Frazier did not have a right to the Merck proceeds during her lifetime nor an individual right to bring suit under the wrongful-death statute, Appellant had no curtesy interest in the Merck settlement proceeds.