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Tue May 6, 2014, 02:50 PM

'Affluenza' teen's family (insurer) to pay victim $2M

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — The family of a Texas teenager who killed four people in a drunken-driving wreck has agreed to pay more than $2 million to the family of a boy left paralyzed by the accident.

Tarrant County court documents show that the liability insurer of Ethan Couch's parents agreed to pay more than $1 million in cash and the rest in two annuities to a trust established for Sergio Molina.

Molina was among 12 people injured. His parents say he can only smile and blink.

http://www.seattlepi.com/news/us/article/Affluenza-teen-s-family-to-pay-victim-2M-5457067.php


It appears this is being paid for via the Couch's insurance.

Sergio Molina was riding in the bed of Couch’s pickup the night of June 15, 2013, when the pickup swerved in the 1500 block of Burleson-Retta Road in southern Tarrant County, hitting a stranded motorist and three people who had stopped to help her. The pickup also plowed into a parked car, sending it into a Volkswagen Beetle driving in the opposite direction. Couch’s pickup flipped and smashed into a tree.

Sergio Molina flew out and landed on his head.

In the settlement reached Friday in 96th state District Court, Fred and Tonya Couch’s liability insurer agreed to pay $1.638 million cash to the Sergio E. Molina Special Needs Trust. The Couches’ insurer also agreed to purchase two sets of annuities to provide payments to the trust, beginning in July, of $1,515 monthly and of $1,837 monthly, both for life and guaranteed for 25 years.

The settlement also provides for attorneys’ fees. The attorneys representing Lemus and Molina, and Fred and Tonya Couch could not be reached to comment on Monday.

Read more here: http://www.star-telegram.com/2014/05/05/5794503/first-liability-settlement-approved.html#storylink=cpy


From what I recall of the case, the cost for this one boys care was over $600K at the time, and was estimated to be as high as $10 million over the course of his lifetime.

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Reply 'Affluenza' teen's family (insurer) to pay victim $2M (Original post)
herding cats May 2014 OP
Blue_Tires May 2014 #1
herding cats May 2014 #5
Blue_Tires May 2014 #8
herding cats May 2014 #10
A HERETIC I AM May 2014 #12
herding cats May 2014 #17
A HERETIC I AM May 2014 #18
herding cats May 2014 #22
A HERETIC I AM May 2014 #23
YarnAddict May 2014 #16
randys1 May 2014 #26
ProudToBeBlueInRhody May 2014 #2
PubsFU May 2014 #3
randys1 May 2014 #27
MicaelS May 2014 #4
herding cats May 2014 #6
MissB May 2014 #14
exboyfil May 2014 #20
Jenoch May 2014 #7
MicaelS May 2014 #9
Jenoch May 2014 #15
exboyfil May 2014 #21
Jenoch May 2014 #25
exboyfil May 2014 #28
exboyfil May 2014 #11
NobodyHere May 2014 #19
Tierra_y_Libertad May 2014 #13
Strelnikov_ May 2014 #24

Response to herding cats (Original post)

Tue May 6, 2014, 03:02 PM

1. That's all mom and dad know...

Just throw money at the problem until it goes away...You can't put a price on shielding their special snowflake from any sense of personal responsibility whatsoever...

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Response to Blue_Tires (Reply #1)

Tue May 6, 2014, 03:16 PM

5. I question if this is even enough money to provide for this boy for life.

The cash pay out is $1.638 million, with an additional $1,005,600 guaranteed over 25 years. It's all being paid out by an insurance company, also, not the Couch's personally.

I'm not seeing how that amount will cover a lifetime of the best care for this boy. If the Couch's are so damn affluent their own son couldn't understand his actions, let alone be held accountable for them like a non-rich person, shouldn't they have to pay for the best possible long term care this boy could receive?

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Response to herding cats (Reply #5)

Tue May 6, 2014, 03:30 PM

8. I'm certain that the Couch's attorneys have let all the families know

behind closed doors that this is a take it or leave it offer...

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Response to Blue_Tires (Reply #8)

Tue May 6, 2014, 03:36 PM

10. I don't doubt that for a moment.

What with the influence their affluence affords them in the court system. This kid didn't stand a chance at being fairly compensated from the start.

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Response to herding cats (Reply #5)

Tue May 6, 2014, 03:42 PM

12. The annuity is "Life with a guarantee of 25 years"

In other words - "whichever is longer"

This is what is known as a "Life with Period Certain" provision.

If the boy dies in say 21 years, his trust (ostensibly his parents) will continue to receive payments for another 4 years. The annuity will otherwise pay until he dies from natural causes (the "life" portion)


Also, I know that this may seem a bit callous to you, but no where in American jurisprudence that I have ever heard (and no, I'm not an attorney) is there a requirement or a precedent for paying "for the best possible long term care" this boy could receive. They might be able to win such a provision in court, but in a settlement like this, it isn't going to happen. He will get good and decent and REASONABLE care. Not "the best possible" because that is not reasonable.

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Response to A HERETIC I AM (Reply #12)

Tue May 6, 2014, 04:17 PM

17. So the 40K a year is for the length of his lifetime

That's good, but still not enough for nursing home care of the variety he'll need. Even if one were to assume the cost would remain static for the duration of his lifetime.

My other comments were due to the parents wealth being a deciding factor in the sentence applied to their son. I was applying that as an anecdotal example of the jurisprudence he enjoyed vs. the reality of what American jurisprudence is for the rest of us, including this young man. In other words, it was sarcastic in both tone and intention.

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Response to herding cats (Reply #17)

Tue May 6, 2014, 04:24 PM

18. Without seeing the provisions of the annuity itself, I would say yes.

And I agree, it isn't enough.

I also agree that this entire thing is a sham, but you can only get so much blood from a turnip.

I know there are some Du'ers who want to see this family ruined merely because they are rich or that their lawyer used the arrogant "affluenza" defense. While it is a disgrace that (if true) they really raised their boy to be so uncaring of others, that in itself isn't a crime worthy of losing ones life's fortune over.

If nothing else this case has shed some light on the radical differences in sentencing meted out to various members of society, particularly in Texas.

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Response to A HERETIC I AM (Reply #18)

Tue May 6, 2014, 05:48 PM

22. You made me stop and think

Do I want to see the parents ruined because they're rich which led to the "affluenza" defense? Of course my first response was, of course not! Then I thought about it a bit more and I realized in some way I was wanting to see them pay for their son's crimes. Not ruined, but I think I was wanting to see them have to pay some price. I'm not defending my feelings, or even attempting to justify them. I will admit it probably is in part due to the defense used and the extremely light sentence issued to their son as a result. The defense blamed the parents, and in essence so was I, if for slightly different reasons. Add another fault to my personal tree of life.

I don't want to see any bleeding of turnips, that I'm sure of! It's an insurance company. I'm assuming it's the father's business policy on his vehicle, since that's what the son was driving at the time. They gambled and they lost on this policy, it's the nature of their business. You probably know this, but insurance companies use a formula to come to what they think is the lowest amount they can reasonably offer. I'm not sure here, I'm working off the very limited hints given in the media, but from the amount of the settlement it almost appears they offered the standard $40K - $45K a year for general nursing home care plus $1 million to be paid toward the previous medical expenses and attorneys fees, and another million to assure the settlement was taken. It isn't enough. Even though it's being touted as "millions" by the media. It's about half of what the family should have gotten considering their sons current medical condition and the cost of his lifetime care. Since this is in Texas, and since I don't know the emotional health of those involved, I'm going to have to believe the attorneys did their best by this family.

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Response to herding cats (Reply #22)

Tue May 6, 2014, 06:38 PM

23. Well, I'm glad my post had that effect!

You and I aren't far apart on this I think.

You are probably not far from spot on re: the insurance company and how they came to arrive at those terms. They have actuaries who have as part of their job, figuring out the life expectancy of a teenager who lands on his head after being ejected from the bed of a rolling pickup truck.

It is what it is.

You're right - the insurance company took a bet underwriting this mans policy and lost in this case. And as morbid and horrible as this sounds, they are hoping the boy getting the settlement doesn't live that long.

If they took $2 million and made it into a lifetime annuity, the best they could hope for would be in the 4 to 5% range annual payout. That means about $100,000 a year at 5%. Less if they calculate using the 30 Year Treasury as a baseline (currently around 3.3% yield with a 3.65% coupon)

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Response to herding cats (Reply #5)

Tue May 6, 2014, 04:07 PM

16. All things considered--

 

his life expectancy is probably considerably shorter than it would have been without the injury. He will always be subject to life-threatening complications.

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Response to herding cats (Reply #5)

Tue May 6, 2014, 07:20 PM

26. Nope, not enough, should be minimum twenty million

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Response to herding cats (Original post)

Tue May 6, 2014, 03:06 PM

2. US Senator Ethan Couch (R-TX)

Get used to it.

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Response to herding cats (Original post)

Tue May 6, 2014, 03:08 PM

3. Seeing that this is Texass I can see a friendly Judge vacating the settlement

 

Seeing that this is Texass I can see a friendly Judge vacating the settlement, then finding a way to make the family pay out even less.

I can also see a new law in Taxass making it legal for the 1% to drive over the 99% , with the victim(s) having to pay for the damage to the vehicle driven by the 1%er.

Justice will not happen in a court of law.

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Response to PubsFU (Reply #3)

Tue May 6, 2014, 07:21 PM

27. and i wish you were exaggerating, but you are not

when the teaparty idiots are out of jobs and money and food, they might finally wake up

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Response to herding cats (Original post)

Tue May 6, 2014, 03:11 PM

4. I would edit to say "The 'Affluenza' teen's INSURER to pay victim $2M"

I'm willing to bet this POS family wiggles out of any real financial payment to the victims.

I live in Ft. Worth, and I am disgusted by this kid, his parents, the trial and the judge.

I'd like to see the kid get a Singapore Caning. Say 10 strokes. I'm totally serious.

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Response to MicaelS (Reply #4)

Tue May 6, 2014, 03:18 PM

6. It is the insurer paying.

I think I'll make that edit, thank you. From what I've been able to find about this case it appears the parents have yet to pay more than, perhaps, an increase in their insurance premiums.

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Response to herding cats (Reply #6)

Tue May 6, 2014, 03:45 PM

14. It's probably coming from an umbrella policy.

Which I am guessing the insurer will promptly cancel after the payout.

We have an umbrella policy too. I hope to never have to use it, but I'm not raising entitled jerks either.

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Response to MissB (Reply #14)

Tue May 6, 2014, 05:37 PM

20. I do have to wonder about whether the umbrella would

protect the corporate assets. He was driving a truck owned by the corporation under the permission of one of the corporate officer's (his father). That brings lots of interesting IRS questions since I doubt this drunk young man was delivery sheet metal that night (or probably doing anything for the business while he was driving the truck).

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Response to herding cats (Original post)

Tue May 6, 2014, 03:28 PM

7. I am still incensed every time this case come's up.

 

How much are the parents of the dead people in this case receiving?

I might get flamed for this, and I am not really blaming the victim, but he should not have been riding in the bed of a pickup truck, especially with a driver who is intoxicated.

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Response to Jenoch (Reply #7)

Tue May 6, 2014, 03:35 PM

9. Five other families have settled.

From the Star Telegram article:

Five other families of the injured or killed have settled with the Couches, pending court approval. The family of Lucas McConnell, who was injured, is the only one not to settle, saying a jury trial is their means of seeking justice.


The Crouch family is a real piece of work.

Ethan's father, Fred Couch, is the owner of Cleburne Sheet Metal in Fort Worth, which has approximately 30 employees and a yearly turnover estimated at $15 million. His mother is Tonya Couch. They were divorced in 2007. Ethan's parents both have had incidents with the law, publicized in the media following their son's conviction, but have never served any time in prison.Ethan's father has been charged with criminal mischief, theft by check and assault, but these charges were dismissed. Ethan's mother was sentenced to a $500 fine and a six-month community supervision order for reckless driving.


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Response to MicaelS (Reply #9)

Tue May 6, 2014, 04:02 PM

15. I scanned the first link, but not the Star Telegram.

 

The kid should have been placed in juvie detention until he was 21. I don't know if he learned anything from his actions. It's possible, but we won't know for a few years.

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Response to Jenoch (Reply #15)

Tue May 6, 2014, 05:39 PM

21. While the state is picking up most of the tab

The place where he ended up for treatment is not fun (among other things they treat the criminally insane). It might be the closest society gets to justice. At least it is not a horse ranch, and I don't think he is going to be taking day trips to the beach.

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Response to exboyfil (Reply #21)

Tue May 6, 2014, 07:19 PM

25. I thought he only got ten months probation?

 

I did not know he was sentenced to treatment as well. That's a good thing. I hope it works and he can get past what he did and become a productive member of society. I do believe in rehabilitation and forgiveness, especially for the young who have not had previous convictions.

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Response to Jenoch (Reply #25)

Tue May 6, 2014, 07:25 PM

28. Originally the story was he was

going to the $450K/yr. treatment center in California for an undetermined period. Now he is going to the state hospital on the taxpayer's dime (it makes you wonder how much money the family actually has - it could be they were spending it as fast as they got it - multiple homes, hedonistic lifestyle, etc).

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Response to herding cats (Original post)

Tue May 6, 2014, 03:36 PM

11. State has a vested interest in this payout as well

No doubt this young man will spend the rest of his life on Medicaid LTC (unless he has a highly marketable intellectual skill like Stephen Hawking). Typical care at a nursing home is $75K (what my grandma's nursing home costs and she requires less care than this young man). Say $100K x 40 years = $4M in today's dollars. The $10M figure sounds right and it is going to come out of the pockets of the taxpayers of Texas and the U.S.

One mitigating circumstance in this case was that Molina assumed the risk of riding in the bed of the pickup with a drunk at the wheel. The Couch's should feel fortunate that they did not paralyze some of the innocent bystanders. It is an old maxim - if you are going to hurt somebody in an accident you are better off if they die.

Years down the line will the parents or siblings be willing to step up to offer free healthcare for their son/brother. Eventually they may need to obtain paid work or be physically incapable of addressing the needs of this young man.

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Response to exboyfil (Reply #11)

Tue May 6, 2014, 05:01 PM

19. The state's already paying for the vast majority his treatment

 

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Response to herding cats (Original post)

Tue May 6, 2014, 03:42 PM

13. If you can't beat the law, buy it. It's the Murkin way.

 

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Response to herding cats (Original post)

Tue May 6, 2014, 06:43 PM

24. More and more life in 'Merica resembles a Philip K Dick story n/t

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