Wrongful Death Defense

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When the Law is Against You, Try Making New Law

LEE, Dietrich, Bowden, et al. v. DuPont, Houston

This litigation encompassed the trial of six wrongful death cases involving the most significant loss-of-inheritance claim known in the state of Texas. Three top Conoco executives and their wives were killed in a G-2 aircraft crash. The plaintiffs, 13 surviving children and parents, claimed loss of inheritance in excess of $300 million for the three executives, each of whom was earning millions of dollars per year, plus stock options.

Under then-existing law, the jury could not consider the effect of income taxes on the ability to grow an estate. But while presenting the defense case, Rose Walker name partner Martin Rose convinced the trial judge to allow some evidence of the effect of income taxation on the plaintiffs’ ability to grow an estate. The plaintiffs then accepted the settlement offer made before trial, which represented less than 25 percent of what plaintiffs demanded during trial.