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Kentucky Supreme Court Rules Surviving Spouses Have The Right To Sue For Loss Of Companionship

On October 1, 2009 the Kentucky Supreme Court issued a ruling granting a surviving spouse the right to sue for loss of consortium damages in a wrongful death case following the death of their spouse, an issue thrust into the spotlight by the litigation surrounding the August, 2006 crash of Comair Flight 5191 at Lexington’s Bluegrass Airport. Before this ruling was issued, Kentucky was one of only four states that didn’t allow spouses to sue for these damages. Prior to this ruling, Kentucky allowed for the recovery of loss of consortium damages for a spouse of someone who was injured, but not someone who was wrongfully killed- a notion that Justice Noble, speaking for a unanimous Kentucky Supreme Court, wrote “defies common sense.”

In an article detailing the Court’s decision, attorney David Rapoport, who represents the only surviving spouse from the Flight 5191 crash with a wrongful death case that remains open and will benefit from the ruling, calls the change of law a “great development” for the people of Kentucky, and notes the new law is “humane, and it brings Kentucky into the majority.”

The change in law is a victory for people like Rapoport’s client, Jamie Hebert, who lost her husband Bryan Keith Woodward in the crash of Flight 5191.

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