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