Things are heating up in the wrongful death lawsuit against Caitlyn Jenner as victim Kim Howe’s stepchildren say the $500K insurance cap on Jenner’s policy not enough to cover damages.
The stepchildren, William Howe and Dana Redmond, believe the damage caused when Jenner’s SUV “propelled” Kimberly Howe’s vehicle into another lane on the highway” greatly exceeds $500K. Further, they’re concerned that multiple suits against Jenner will take up much of the available half-million. They may be correct in the latter assumption as the driver of the black Prius Jenner hit is also suing.
Jenner’s response to the suit was that Howe’s stepchildren didn’t qualify for damages under California law. Stepchildren must be financially dependent on the deceased stepparent in order to collect in a wrongful death suit. William Howe and Dana Redmond are both well into adulthood and financially independent.
Apparently, this answer isn’t good enough for them, though. In recently filed court papers, the stepchildren claim they were financially dependent on Kim Howe. However, the documents are thin on details of this dependency. Here’s what they say: “[N]ot only did they have a very real relationship with Ms. Howe during the 40 years that she was their stepmother, but that they relied upon her, at least to some extent, for some of the necessities of life.”
Their lawyer, apparently ignoring California law just as much as his clients are, says, “Stepchildren can be just as much children to their parents.” Agreed in general; however, for the specifics of this case, I respectfully reject that premise.
Mr. Howe, age 57, and Ms. Redmond, age 60, were both living and working out of state at the time of the fatal crash. Further, a close friend of Kim Howe says that the stepchildren’s father died in 2003 and that Kim never spoke to him of the stepchildren. He also states that he had a conversation with Ms. Redmond shortly after Kim’s death and Ms. Redmond said she hadn’t seen her stepmother since 2003.
Jenner is asking the court to dismiss the suit. Per California law, I believe there is not other option for the court than to grant Jenner’s request. It is clear from the evidence presented thus far that Mr. Howe and Ms. Redmond didn’t really have much of a relationship with their stepmother after their father’s death. How then, could they be financially dependent upon her?
I’ll tell you how.
Jenner is clearly at fault for the accident and it is a tragedy that Kim Howe died. As her only living relatives, Mr. Howe and Ms. Redmond saw a payday on the horizon. From her own admission that she hadn’t seen Kim Howe since 2003 (12 years ago!), I can’t be convinced that there was a relationship there, especially one of financial dependence.
What’s happening is sad. While I am sure the two may be grieving, I’m also sure they see a way of padding their retirement nest eggs via Jenner’s insurance. If they visited frequently and evidence showed a close relationship, I may argue that it’s time for the law to change. In this case, all I see are opportunists looking to make a buck off of their stepmother’s death.