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Cases of Interest: Personal Injury Awards
National Legal Research Group, Inc.

ALASKA: Lundquist v. Lundquist, 1996 WL 465773 (Alaska Sup. Ct. 1996).
The husband, a fisherman, lost substantial income from his fishing business when the Exxon Valdez ran aground and spilled oil into the waters around Alaska. Along with numerous other plaintiffs, the husband sued Exxon and recovered a significant award.
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CALIFORNIA: In re Marriage of Fell, ___ Cal. App. 4th ___, 64 Cal. Rptr. 2d 522 (1997).
The purported waiver of statutory disclosure obligations in the parties' settlement agreement was invalid, so the trial court acted within its discretion in setting aside the dissolution judgment based upon the agreement.
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CALIFORNIA: In re Marriage of Varner, 55 Cal. App. 4th 128, 63 Cal. Rptr. 2d 894 (1997).
A spouse's failure to disclose the existence or the value of a community asset constitutes a basis for setting aside a dissolution judgment on the ground of mistake.
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FLORIDA: White v. White, 705 So. 2d 123 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1998).
The husband's unrebutted testimony that his personal injury settlement was to compensate for future injuries, losses, and damages established that the entire settlement was his separate property.
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FLORIDA: Spano v. Spano, 698 So. 2d 324 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1997).
A spouse who files a motion to set aside a property settlement agreement and judgment may not be awarded attorney's fees under the matrimonial statute permitting fee awards in modification and enforcement proceedings.
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FLORIDA: Ritter v. Ritter, 690 So. 2d 1372 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1997).
The trial court erred in precluding the husband from calling the wife's personal injury lawyer to testify concerning her offer to settle her pending personal injury lawsuit.
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ILLINOIS: In re Marriage of Murphy, ___ Ill. App. 3d ___, 631 N.E.2d 893 (1994).
The trial court did not abuse its discretion by awarding the wife only $220,000 from the husband's $1.8 million personal injury settlement.
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LOUISIANA: Ramsey v. Ramsey, 682 So. 2d 797 (La. Ct. App. 1996).
It was equitable to apportion the husband's personal injury settlement by classifying $450,000 as community property for loss of earnings and $300,000 as separate property for pain and suffering.
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MISSISSIPPI: Tramel v. Tramel, 740 So. 2d 286 (Miss. 1999).
Personal injury settlement proceeds are only partially marital assets subject to equitable distribution.
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MISSOURI: Laffey v. Laffey, 4 S.W.3d 655 (Mo. Ct. App. 1999).
The husband claimed that the trial court had abused its discretion in not assigning a value to the wife's pending personal injury claim and in dividing the marital property.
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MISSOURI: Heslop v. Heslop, 967 S.W.2d 249 (Mo. Ct. App. 1998).
The husband failed to show that any part of his FELA settlement was his separate property under the "analytic" approach for classifying compensation awards. During the parties' separation, the husband received a net settlement of approximately $52,000 on his claim under the Federal Employers' Liability Act (FELA) for injuries sustained on his railroad job two years previously. The trial court classified the settlement as marital property in its entirety.
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MONTANA: In re Marriage of Doyle, ___ Mont. ___, 929 P.2d 886 (1996).
The husband's alleged misrepresentation of asset values and other facts could not be characterized as fraud upon the court or extrinsic fraud so as to permit relief from judgment.
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NEBRASKA: Mathew v. Palmer, 8 Neb. App. 128, 589 N.W.2d 343 (1999).
Proceeds from wife's actions against third parties for medical malpractice and invasion of privacy were her separate property where the injuries were personal to the wife and did not diminish the marital estate, and the husband's contribution of legal services duplicated the efforts of the wife's retained attorneys without adding value to her claims.
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NEW HAMPSHIRE: In re Preston, No. 99-536 (N.H. Oct. 3, 2001).
The husband claimed that the trial court erroneously concluded that an annuity arising from a personal injury claim was marital property subject to equitable distribution. The husband claimed that the trial court had erroneously concluded that an annuity arising from a personal injury claim was marital property subject to equitable distribution.
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NEW MEXICO: Sanders v. Estate of Sanders, ___ N.M. ___, 927 P.2d 23 (Ct. App. 1996).
The husband's alleged statement to the court that the parties' settlement agreement was fair did not constitute fraud on the court.
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OHIO: Krysa v. Sieber, 113 Ohio App. 3d 572, 681 N.E.2d 949 (1996) (published 1997).
The wife was entitled to relief from judgment on the ground of excusable neglect because her lawyer inadvertently made a mathematical error when calculating the value of the parties' marital property.
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OHIO: Modon v. Modon, 115 Ohio App. 3d 810, 686 N.E.2d 355 (1996).
The full amount of the husband's personal injury settlement was properly classified as marital property, in view of the husband's failure to prove what part of the settlement was his separate property.
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OREGON: In re Marriage of Pugh, 138 Or. App. 63, 906 P.2d 829 (1995).
Even though the husband's personal injury settlement was a marital asset, and even though he failed to rebut the presumption that the wife contributed equally to the acquisition of the settlement, the serious and permanent nature of his injury entitled him to a disproportionately greater share of it.
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SOUTH CAROLINA: Blejski v. Blejski, ___ S.C. ___, 480 S.E.2d 462 (Ct. App. 1997).
Neither the trial court's remarks from the bench nor alleged pressure by the wife's attorney amounted to duress so as to vitiate the parties' settlement agreement.
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SOUTH CAROLINA: Marsh v. Marsh, ___ S.C. ___, 437 S.E.2d 34 (1993).
The proceeds of a personal injury settlement acquired during the marriage are entirely marital property.
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VERMONT: Putnam v. Putnam, ___ Vt. ___, 689 A.2d 446 (1996).
The parties' stipulation was properly set aside as the product of duress, where the record showed that the wife feared the husband, that he had abused and threatened her, and that she was mentally exhausted and felt hopeless.
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VIRGINIA: Pelfrey v. Pelfrey, 25 Va. App. 239, 487 S.E.2d 281 (1997).
The parties' property settlement agreement was not the product of duress, where the agreement was executed nine months after the wife's suicide threats and at a time when the husband was living with another woman and was not under a doctor's care.
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