News and Tribune

Clark County

July 29, 2013

Sellersburg fire department ordered to pay $225,000 in wrongful-death suit

Jury rules in favor of deceased woman's estate



Reynolds explained the $225,000 was the amount the jurors found to be justifiable compensation to Couch’s husband, Lamar Couch, for the “love and affection” lost as a result of his wife’s death, before he passed away nearly four months later.

The damages, if an appeal does not reverse the verdict, will be paid to Couch’s estate.

Reynolds explained that the damages had a cap of $300,000, and added, “We are very pleased with the verdict.”

He also said a verdict like the one reached in the trial can do much more to make sure EMT drivers are safely responding to emergencies than virtually any action taken by lawmakers.

“I hope it [the verdict] is something everyone in the community will benefit from,” Reynolds said.

He said it was the evidence and testimonies that resulted in the verdict, not the work of his firm’s attorneys or any shortcomings of the defense counsel.

In regard to Herthel and the SVFD, Reynolds said, “I’m sure they hated this as much as anyone in the world and are very sorry what happened to the [Couch] family.”

The trial was heard in Judge Jerry Jacobi’s Clark County Circuit Court No. 2.

Reynolds also took a moment to say the people of Clark County are lucky to have such a hard-working judge in Jacobi, and his entire court staff.

SFVD Boyce Adams said the entire situation was unfortunate and that there are no winners. He said he will have to wait and see until the after the appeal process and communication with the department’s insurance company before determining how the SVFD will be affected.

The defense has nearly 30 days from the time the verdict was reached to file for an appeal.

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