State Farm's unpaid attendant care debt is upheld
Raymond Andres was badly injured in a car wreck and required 24-hour attendant care. State Farm owed Raymond Andres's ex-wife $126,000.00 in attendant care by the time she sued as his guardian to collect for late payments. State Farm denied the obligation, claiming that it had proved in a separate action that its adjuster and Andres's original attorney had collaborated to commit fraud in achieving an agreement to pay Andres' guardian $18,000 per month for his care.
The Court of Appeals upheld the award of overdue payments, noting that there was no evidence that Andres or his guardian were a party to the fraud and that State Farm had not alleged fraud at all in its Answer to the original Complaint filed by the guardian/ex-wife, let alone meeting the requirement of alleging fraud "with particularity". The Court noted that the original agreement was negotiated by a claims litigation attorney for State Farm separate from the alleged collaborating adjuster, and that there was adequate evidence in the court record to support the need for 24-hour care.