Insurance Attorney Beware?
In American Family v. DeWitt, No. 08SC308 (Colo. October 13, 2009), the Colorado Supreme court affirmed the trial court’s judgment. The Court determined that a jury as fact-finder in a UM/UIM subrogation claim was proper. An insurer brought negligence and family car doctrine claims and sought recovery for UIM payments it advanced to its insured. A jury trial was held and the insurer was awarded damages. At trial, the insurer’s former attorney testified regarding her evaluation of the underlying case.
Although the act of subrogation has its roots in equity, the Court held that the presence of a subrogee party does not transform otherwise legal claims into claims in equity. Thus, trial by jury was proper in this case. The Colorado Supreme Court also held that the insurer’s trial objection regarding its former attorney’s trial testimony did not provide the trial court an adequate opportunity to address the argument made on appeal that the evidence was inadmissible.
dewitt.pdf (54.48 kb)