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Westminster hosts appeals court, local case

Missouri Western Court of Appeals Judge Joseph Ellis answers a question from a Westminster College student on Thursday. Ellis and judges Mark Pfeiffer and Victor Howard heard three cases at Westminster College in order to help educate the public and students on the appeals process.

Missouri Western Court of Appeals Judge Joseph Ellis answers a question from a Westminster College student on Thursday. Ellis and judges Mark Pfeiffer and Victor Howard heard three cases at Westminster College in order to help educate the public and students on the appeals process. Photo by Brittany Ruess.

Westminster College played host to the Missouri Western Court of Appeals on Thursday as it heard three cases. Riley & Dunlap, a Fulton-based law firm, represented the MacVitties of Callaway County in one of those cases.

Jay MacVittie suffered injuries when he was hit from behind while driving his motorcycle in May 2012. Jay MacVittie made a bodily injury claim with Shelter Insurance and his wife, Debra, made a claim for loss of consortium, meaning the couple’s relationship has dwindled in a way due to the accident.

Shelter approved Jay MacVittie’s claim for $100,000, but not Debra MacVittie’s claim. Shelter insurance made an argument that an insurance policy limited one person to the recovery.The MacVitties sued for Debra MacVittie’s right to her claim and the trial court judge ruled in favor of the MacVitties.

Shelter appealed the case and arguments were heard in the appellate court on Thursday. Missouri Western Court of Appeals judges Mark Pfeiffer, Victor Howard and Joseph Ellis heard arguments. Pfeiffer is also a professor at Westminster.

Brad Letterman with the Jefferson City-based law firm Schreimann, Rackers, Francka & Blunt represented Shelter. Letterman said it is a law firm policy not to comment on pending cases.

Jacquelyn Brazas with Riley & Dunlap argued for the MacVitties. She said Shelter admitted its policy covers Debra MacVittie’s claim for loss of consortium, but that it is limited.

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