In 2003, Bryan Rouse was enjoying a night out in Kansas City’s Westport district when things took a sudden and brutal turn. While at America’s Pub (whose Westport location closed in 2012), Rouse was put in a chokehold by a bouncer and then dropped to the floor when he lost consciousness. The impact caused Rouse to suffer a brain injury.
The Plaintiffs and Defendants
The case was a complex one. The players included the following:
- The Victim & Plaintiff No. 1: Bryan Rouse
- The Bar’s Owner and Cross Claim Plaintiff : KC Live
- The Insurance Company for KC Live and Defendant: Western Heritage Insurance Co.
The First Lawsuit
In the first lawsuit, Rouse offered to settle for insurance policy limits, but Western Heritage rejected the settlement and did not pass it on to KC Live. When Western Heritage did not respond to the lawsuit, KC Live struck a deal with Rouse, agreeing to admit liability in exchange for Rouse’s commitment to focus his efforts for a favorable judgment against Western Heritage in an arrangement known as a 537.065 agreement.
The Second Lawsuit
In August 2007, Rouse was awarded $2.5 million. Rouse filed a second suit against Western Heritage, and KC Live (represented by Presley & Presley) who then filed a cross-claim against Western Heritage for bad faith for the rejection of the offer to settle for policy limits.
Western Heritage, for their part, claimed there was no coverage because KC Live allegedly breached the insurance policy by reaching the initial commitment with Rouse. They also claimed that even if there were coverage, an addition to the policy on injuries from assault and battery limited payout to $50,000. However, Rouse had filed their suit for negligence, not assault and battery, putting the potential payout at $1 million.
The Risks of a 537.065 Agreement
In a 537.065 agreement, policyholders can “buy their peace” by agreeing to join forces with a plaintiff against an insurance company. However, the commitment to teamwork comes with a big risk: If the lawsuit is unsuccessful, both the original plaintiff and the policyholder walk away with nothing. However, the 537.065 agreement is essential to the business community, since an uninsured judgment for a claim like the one in this case would be financially devastating.
The Outcome of the Case
In the end, the plaintiffs and the defendant reached a settlement, in which $900,000 was awarded to Rouse, and $95,000 was awarded to KC Live.
No Matter How Complex the Case, Presley & Presley Can Help
Rare is the civil case that’s cut and dried. No matter how straightforward the facts seem, the intricacies of the law can make or break a case. And that’s where having an experienced, dedicated firm like Presley & Presley can save the day.
No matter how complex the case, Presley & Presley will honestly and ethically guide you through the process. And since our fees are contingent upon the outcome of the case, you never have to worry about paying for a settlement you haven’t yet received.