United States Fifth Circuit

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Wackman v. Rubsamen, 08-51119

In an action for wrongful death against plaintiffs' decedent's caretaker, judgment for plaintiffs is affirmed in part where: 1) the court rejected defendant's contention that the foundation of plaintiff's expert's opinion was so flawed or unreliable that it constituted no evidence at all; 2) the jury could reasonably conclude that losing one's parent because that person was intentionally killed would cause more trauma and anguish than if that parent died as a result of an accident; and 3) a meeting of the minds between defendants could be found based on the reasonable inference that defendants would have discussed why they were going to the funeral home in advance of the victim's death. However, the judgment is reversed in part where: 1) plaintiffs adduced no evidence of future mental anguish; and 2) the trial court needed to revisit its previous decision not to enter judgment on the jury's undue influence damages award in light of the court of appeals' affirmance of the finding of undue influence and reversal of the tortious interference verdict.

Appellate Information

  • Decided 03/30/2010
  • Published 03/30/2010

Judges

  • EMILIO M. GARZA, Circuit Judge:, Before WIENER, GARZA, and ELROD, Circuit Judges.

Court

  • United States Fifth Circuit

Counsel

  • For Appellees:
  • David Wayne Lauritzen (argued), Aaron Matthew Dorfner (argued), Cotton, Bledsoe, Tighe & Dawson, P.C., Midland, TX, Richard H. Parker, Jr., Richard Parker & Associates, Houston, TX, for Plaintiffs-Appellees., Renee Forinash McElhaney (argued), Ellen B. Mitchell, Cox, Smith, Matthews, Inc., San Antonio, TX, for Defendant-Appellant.