Fart Explosion: Evans v. Provident Life & Accident Insurance Co.

i 2000+ pointsj 1000+ pointsk 500+ pointsl 100+ pointsm 1+ points - Newb

In the course of researching a matter (which shall remain confidential) for a client of mine, I came across the following decision of the Supreme Court of Kansas. I would respectfully ask for PoopReporters' input on whether this decision ought to be the law or not. Heavily abridged, the opinion of the Kansas court is as follows:

Evans v. Provident Life & Accident Insurance Co.

Supreme Court of Kansas (1991)

McFARLAND, Justice:

Provident Life & Accident Insurance Company (Provident) appeals a jury verdict awarding Arlene Evans the proceeds of a $300,000 accidental death policy issued by Provident insuring Dr. Grant Evans, husband of Arlene.

Dr. Evans practiced in the medical specialty of obstetrics/gynecology for many years prior to his retirement in 1986. His retirement resulted from numerous health problems. On April 11, 1987, he received fatal burns in the bathroom of his hospital room in the psychiatric unit of Wesley Medical Center, Wichita. He was 65 years old and was being treated for major depression with melancholia.

Arlene Evans made claim under the policy. Provident denied the claim on the basis the death was the result of an intentionally self-inflicted injury, a suicide, and, accordingly, was not within the coverage afforded by the policy. This action was filed, and the jury found the death was accidental.

The deceased was a careless smoker with a long history of accidentally burning his clothes and household goods. One of the health problems causing his depression was extremely malodorous flatulence arising from abdominal surgery. He had a history of striking matches in the belief the burning sulfur ameliorated the unpleasant odor. The fire investigation herein revealed the deceased was sitting on the toilet when his clothing caught fire. He was wearing cotton flannel pajamas with the pants in place at the waist. Burned matches were on the floor. There was evidence the fire started in the crotch area of the pajamas. Provident was seeking to prove that the deceased committed suicide by intentionally setting fire to his crotch. There was no evidence that an accelerant was used. The jury was probably influenced by the unlikelihood that anyone, particularly a physician, would select this bizarre vehicle for suicide over less painful and more certain means.

We conclude that no reversible error has been shown. [Judgment affirmed.]

I would like to know what everybody thinks. Would anybody really immolate himself on the
toilet? Was the Kansas Supreme Court's reasoning squarely seated, or was it simply blowing (malodorous) smoke?

Best regards to all,


15 Comments on "Fart Explosion: Evans v. Provident Life & Accident Insurance Co."

daphne's picture
PoopReport of the Year AwardSite AdminComment Content ModeratorComment Quality Moderatore 6000+ points

Sorry this is so late to be posted today, Poopers, because The Dumpster sent in a doozy. I researched the case and could not find it complete, but I did find it referenced in many insurance cases.

.....hugging bunnies since 1969

.....hugging bunnies since 1969

phatmanxxl's picture
Comment Quality Moderatork 500+ points

So this guy liked to light up his farts? He would have been a big hit on YouTube. Maybe he died before he set himself on fire, possibly smoking and dropped the cigarette. From the statement I agree with the judgement.

loglover's picture
m 1+ points - Newb

This sounds so much like the urban legend of the girl emptying a can of hairspray into the toilet before her boyfriend drops a cigarette butt into it.

Even if the guy DID light himself up intentionally, he was in a psych ward. What the hell was he doing with a book of matches in there? Seems to me the hospital should be liable for allowing a mental patient to have a potentially lethal object in their possession.

CC also known as Coach Crap's picture

I'm not a legal expert by any means but I would have to say the cause of death was contributory negligence.The fire was caused by his carelessness with the matches.The proximate cause of death was the good doctor setting his clothes on fire by careless use of matches.I don't think it was suicide it was an accidental death cauesed by the doctor's own carelessness the appelate court should have reversed the award and if need be The Kansas State Supreme Court should have upheld the reversal.Again I'm not a lawyer I don't even play one on TV.

Anonymous Coward's picture

Keep in mind the standard of review is probably clear error (just going on what you posted). I don't see a reason not to uphold.

MSG's picture
Comment Quality Moderatori 2000+ points

If it was ruled an accidental death, the lady should have been able to collect on the insurance, which is what the original verdict ruled. The state court simply upheld the ruling, and I think rightly so. Sad, but accidental; she should collect.

the thin brown line's picture
j 1000+ points

Depression, Flatulance, A Match & Jury...written and directed by Woody Allen.

Somethin' mysterious made an exit from the gift shop.

CC also known as Coach Crap's picture

TBL,Let's see if we can cast the movie
Doctor Harrison Ford
Wife Meryl Streep
Judge Judge Judy
Lawyer for plaintiff Billy Crystal
Lawyer for defendent Robin Williams
Bailiff John Cena

Anomalous Coward's picture
k 500+ points

God knows that if I ever wanted to commit suicide I'd light my crotch up. Yessiree, Bob.

Thunderbox's picture
PoopReport of the Year AwardComment Quality Moderatorj 1000+ points

What did his recent pyschiatric report say? You`d have to be more than melancholic to do away with yourself in this way...maybe he had a psychotic episode due to the drugs he was on....even so, it would still be accidental unless there was evidence of a deliberate overdose.

Anyhoo, I know he`d never top himself, but probably the only person on PR who could cause such a fireball with a lit fart to kill someone would be Chief after a weekend on roadkill, kimchi and bootleg hooch!

The voice of sanity

Chief many-farts's picture

Maybe he was depressed because he was big Mabel's gyno. The gruesome method of suicide was because he got turned on during one appointment.

Powersoak's picture

Am I ever glad I was not on that jury. I would have been found in contempt of court for failure to control my laughter when they started talking about malodorus flatulence. If I tried to stifle my laughter, I probably would have inadvertently given a demonstration of malodorus flatulence.

ChiefThunderbutt's picture
PoopReport of the Year AwardComment Content ModeratorComment Quality Moderatorf 5000+ points

I released some malodorous flatulence several times this morning along with a few bouts of explosive butt chunks but I struck no matches. I think the culprit was some White Castle burgers I purchased at a local store and heated in the microwave. Since I gave up smoking many years ago I very seldom have a match in my possession.

Life is still good and I have no plans on bowing out anytime soon, if I ever decide to destroy myself it will definitely not be by self immolation.

Dirty old men need love too!!

If I had two faces do you think I'd be wearing this one?

CC also known as Coach Crap's picture

I thought Malodouros Flatulence was The President of Khazakstan.

Mr Dip's picture
m 1+ points - Newb

What a terribly unfortunate way to go- then the wife has to go to court over it. Bad enough trying to explain what happened to your friends, even worse having them and everyone else read about it in the news. I feel for that poor woman.

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