Articles Posted in Transportation Law

In the early morning hours of April 11, 2008, Jeremy Rustad and Heidi Hanna were killed in a plane crash in McLean County. Rustad was piloting his Cessna aircraft and Hanna was a passenger when the plane crashed. The National Transportation Safety Board determined the probable causes of the accident were due to pilot error and pilot impairment due to alcohol. The estate published a notice to creditors of Rustad for three successive weeks beginning May 22, 2008, informing them they had three months to file claims. On September 24, 2008, Olson, as "co-personal representative of the estate of Heidi Hanna, deceased, caretaker of [B.H.], a minor, and temporary guardian of [B.H.], a minor," filed a claim against the estate asserting the estate was indebted to Hanna's estate and to Hanna's children. The estate "disallowed" Olson's claim. In early 2009, Olson filed this wrongful death and survival action against the estate. The estate moved for summary judgment dismissing the action. The estate argued Olson's claims were barred because she did not serve the personal representative in that capacity and the failure to present her claims in the probate action made them res judicata. The estate also argued Olson could not show Hanna was injured before Rustad died, and therefore, both the wrongful death and survivor claims were barred under the nonclaim provisions of the Probate Code. The district court rejected the estate's arguments that service of process was insufficient and that the action was barred by res judicata. The court concluded Olson presented no evidence to show Hanna died before Rustad, and dismissed the wrongful death and survival actions because they were barred by the nonclaim provisions of the Probate Code. The district court further noted Rustad had an aircraft insurance policy and the nonclaim provisions did not prevent Olson from recovering to the extent of insurance coverage available for the accident. The court ruled the language in the insurance policy unambiguously limited coverage under the circumstances to $103,000, and a judgment was entered in favor of Olson for $103,000. The Estate appealed; the Supreme Court, after review of the trial court record, affirmed. View "Olson v. Estate of Rustad" on Justia Law