Sally Jane Catanese and William Raymond Catanese (hereinafter “Decedents”) were killed in a tragic automobile accident that occurred in Missouri on October 27, 2012. The accident occurred when a 2006 Toyota Avalon being driven by Harry Walker Crowell hit the rear of a 2002 GMC Sonoma being driven by Sally Catanese. William Catanese was riding in the front passenger seat. The impact from Crowell’s Toyota Avalon caused the Catanese’ GMC Sonoma to leave the roadway and roll several times. Sally and William Catanese were pronounced dead at the scene. Decedents left two adult children (Katie Lynn Miller and Karen Seidling) and one minor child (Marissa Catanese, Respondent).
Harry Walker Crowell maintained an automobile insurance policy with State Farm Insurance Company. The policy had policy limits of $100,000/person and $300,000/accident. State Farm offered the policy limits of $200,000 in return for a full release of Harry Walker Crowell. Decedents maintained two, personal automobile insurance policies (one with American Family Insurance Company and one with The Traveler’s Insurance Company), both of which contained a provision for underinsured motorist (UIM) protection. The American Family Insurance policy covered the 2002 GMC Sonoma that was involved in the accident. Its UIM limits were $50,000/person and $100,000/accident. American Family Insurance Company offered the policy limits of $100,000. The Travelers Insurance Company covered a 2005 Honda Pilot EX that Decedents owned. Its limits of underinsurance were $250,000/person and $500,000/accident. After much legal research and negotiating, The Travelers Insurance Company ultimately tendered the policy limits of $500,000. The total settlements came to $800,000.