In re Wrongful Death of Daniel P. SoranAnnotate this Case
In 2011, Decedent died of injuries incurred in an automobile accident. Decedent was survived by his allegedly estranged wife, Laura Soran, and by his parents and sister. Decedent’s father, in his capacity as personal representative, brought a wrongful death claim brought against Robert Curran, the driver of the vehicle in which Decedent was a passenger when he died, and settled with Curran’s insurance providers for $400,000. A dispute subsequently arose between Decedent’s beneficiaries as to how the settlement proceeds should be distributed. The district court awarded Laura seventy-five percent of the settlement proceeds and divided the remainder among Decedent’s parents and sister. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the district court’s distribution order was clearly erroneous in that it misapplied the burden of proof and improperly presumed damages in favor of Decedent’s wife where Decedent’s marital relationship was uncertain. Remanded.