A woman in Utah, one Barbara Bagley, is suing herself in a wrongful death suit and the case has made a lot of headlines. While it seems the most ludicrous suit yet – and in the United States no less – the suit is much less frivolous than one might seem.
Barbara Bagley wins appeal to get her day in court…against Barbara Bagley
Some people think Barbara Bagley has taken the crown for the most ridiculous lawsuit yet, trumping the McDonald’s coffee case by a considerable margin. However, a court in her home state of Utah felt otherwise and granted Bagley the right to sue herself.
Yes, that’s right, she’s suing herself.
The initial suit Bagley launched, according to the Salt Lake Tribune, was tossed by the court of Utah’s Third District in 2014, as the presiding judge found the idea of Bagley suing herself too outlandish to take before a jury. However, the Utah Court of Appeals held in February of this year that she can, because she’s technically not suing herself – but suing herself on the behalf of someone else.
On Dec. 27, 2011, Bagley and her husband, Bradley Vom Baur, were driving in the desert outside Battle Ground, Utah, when she lost control of her Range Rover, flipping the vehicle. Her husband sustained fatal injuries in the crash, and the suit – a wrongful death/negligence action – is being brought by his estate, which she is the agent of.
Also the insurance company, by the way
Technically, Barbara Bagley is both plaintiff and defendant, but both are also involved with different parties’ interests. Bagley as plaintiff is bound to pursue the interests of her husband’s estate, which means recovering damages such as emotional damages, loss of a spouse and expenses. Bagley the defendant has (or had) auto insurance, and the insurance company is liable for damages in a wrongful death case since they are the insurance company.
According to The Telegraph, her insurance company has refused to pay, as she was at fault, thus prompting the suit. If she is found negligent by the jury, she wins the suit. (She also loses. ed.)
This kind of court case happens all the time – a lawsuit after a car accident victim dies – but the only thing that’s different about this one is that the person bringing the action is the same as the person who’s responsible, though that person is acting on behalf of the victim.
Granted, this doesn’t mean it will be easy. A number of difficulties have to be resolved to bring the suit to a jury. Any cross-examinations or testimony from Bagley is going to be weird to say the least.
Last to be paid
Those who like to complain about frivolous lawsuits can rest easy as Barbara Bagley will actually be last in line to be paid. As CBS News and the Salt Lake Tribune both point out, the estate’s debts from the passing away of the deceased have to be settled first. Thus, the hospital Vom Baur went to, his health insurer, other creditors – not to mention the lawyers – will have to be paid to settle any debts left by the deceased.
The Telegraph quoted one of her attorneys, who said all she’d be likely to get out of the suit would be “a headstone.”