This afternoon a jury in the 163rd District Court of Orange County, Texas found Commerce and Industry Insurance Company, an AIG company, responsible for workers’ compensation survivor benefits for the family of a worker original injured at BP’s Texas City plant in May 2004. After a two and a half day trial before the Honorable Dennis Powell, the jury found that Bruce Stewart’s death from an accidental overdose of medicine prescribed for treatment of his injury was “a result of” the original injury as it arose from the medical treatment made necessary by the on the job injury.
The insurer had refused to pay his wife and three children any benefits at all, first claiming that no injury had occurred at all. When that case was finally tried and the denial rejected by a Harris County, Texas jury in December 2009, the AIG insurer then made Mr. Stewart’s family again go to trial to recover the benefits due for the accidental death. The jury rejected the AIG insurer’s claim that the death arose solely from Mr. Stewart’s intentional disregard of his doctor’s prescription, which had initially been accepted by the Texas Department of Insurance. Along with Thomas Barnes and Peggy Campbell of The Barnes Law Firm, who represented the Stewart family in the original administrative proceedings, lawyers from the Doyle firm fought for over 5 years to secure the benefits the Stewart family needed after his death. Doyle especially wants to recognize the perseverance of the Stewart family, as well as his parents, in refusing to give in to the AIG insurer over more than five years of legal maneuvering.