Wrongful death lawsuits
By Scott Tibbs, August 1, 2007
----Original Message Follows----
From: Scott C. Tibbs [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Sat 7/21/2007 4:19 PM
Subject: Wrongful death lawsuits
You may recall the California case involving a woman named Diane Whipple who was murdered by avowed white supremacists Robert Noel and Marjorie Knoller. I closely followed this case as it progressed through the legal system.
Whipple's partner, Sharon Smith, tried to sue Noel and Knoller under California's Wrongful Death statute, but there was controversy over whether or not someone's homosexual partner should have the legal right to sue under the law. I looked up Indiana's Wrongful Death statute, and it appears that the ability to recover damages is limited to the following:
"The remainder of the damages, if any, shall, subject to the provisions of this article, inure to the exclusive benefit of the widow or widower, as the case may be, and to the dependent children, if any, or dependent next of kin, to be distributed in the same manner as the personal property of the deceased. "
It appears that Indiana law would not allow Smith to sue either.
If this is the case, I believe that the law should be modified. When someone who is very close to someone else is killed through either malice or negligence, they suffer injury in the same way that the persons described in the Indiana Code do. While I have strong moral objections to homosexuality, I also believe justice demands that those who harm someone through the negligent or malicious killing of another must pay restitution to the living injured party, for "Loss of the adult person's love and companionship" as Indiana Code states.
I sent an email to Mark Kruzan regarding this issue back in 2002, when he represented the 61st district. I do not believe the Indiana Code has been updated in the years since then. While I am not a Democrat, perhaps the fact that Democrats currently control the Indiana House of Representatives gives an opportunity for this law to be modified.
Thank you for your time,