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Sister in Family Poison|Feud Can’t Sue Insurer

(CN) - A woman suing her three sisters for allegedly accusing her of poisoning their mother cannot collect money from one sister's insurance company, a Louisiana appeals court ruled.

Cleo Satter LoCicero died in 2004 of a heart attack. Her daughter, Ramona Hedrick, sued her sisters for defamation and infliction of emotional distress after they allegedly accused her of poisoning their mother.

Hedrick claimed their mother's body was needlessly desecrated by an autopsy due to the sisters' suspicions that Hedrick had murdered her.

Hedrick also claimed that her sisters' suspicions triggered a criminal investigation against her and drove up the cost of their mother's funeral.

Auto Club Family Insurance Co., the homeowner insurer of sister Pam Melancon, intervened and was later dismissed from the case by the trial court due to a policy exclusion for intentional acts. The court dropped all of Hedrick's claims except intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Hedrick appealed the dismissal, claiming that a jury could have found Melancon liable for negligent infliction of emotional distress under the same facts.

Judge Patricia Rivet Murray of the New Orleans-based Fourth District Court of Appeals rejected the appeal.

"Considering that the intentional infliction of emotional distress was the only claim remaining against Ms. Melancon at the time the trial court rendered summary judgment dismissing Auto Club, we conclude that the May 29, 2009 summary judgment was properly rendered," the judge wrote.


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