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Friday, February 23, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Good Samaritan Gets Sympathy, Loses Case

(CN) - A Good Samaritan who was injured trying to help a stranded motorist cannot recover under his employer's underinsured motorist policy, the Texas Supreme Court ruled.

Louis Goudeau got out of his car on a Houston freeway to help a disabled vehicle, when a third driver smashed into both cars and pinned Goudeau between the cars and a retaining wall.

The court said there is "no question" that Goudeau can recover from the driver who caused the accident - but that driver had only $20,000 in insurance.

Goudeau tried to recoup his losses by suing his employer's insurer, U.S. Fidelity and Guaranty Co., for underinsured motorist coverage. However, the policy applies only if Goudeau was "occupying" his car at the time of the accident, the state high court ruled.

"One can imagine few more sympathetic litigants than Louis Goudeau," Justice Brister wrote. "But if sympathy were a rule of contract construction, there would soon be no law of contracts left."

Justices Green, Jefferson and Johnson dissented.

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