03-16-04 Motion filed to separate liability and damages
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03-16-04 Motion filed to separate liability and damages

By Shelley Grieshop

The attorney seeking a wrongful death ruling in the civil lawsuit against Kimberly Anderson has asked the court to allow jurors to decide liability and damages separately at trial.
   The motion for bifurcate filed in Auglaize County Common Pleas Court by attorney Dale Purdue on behalf of Kevin Anderson, would allow jurors to first consider if Kimberly Anderson is liable for the death of former Celina attorney Brent Anderson. If so, jurors would then deliberate on the issue of damages awarded. If Kimberly Anderson is not found liable, the case would be over.
   Jurors generally make verdicts on liability and damages simultaneously.
   Kevin Anderson, brother of Brent Anderson, filed the wrongful death suit against Kimberly Anderson in August 2003 seeking in excess of $50,000 for the two young sons of Brent and Kimberly Anderson, as well as Brent Anderson’s daughter Justine Anderson. A trial is set for November.
   Perdue of Columbus filed the recent motion to “avoid prejudice, simplify the trial and promote judicial economy,” he wrote in the court document. “Testimony on the issue of damages may prejudice the jury’s decision on liability.”
   When jurors hear testimony on damages, they may sympathize with either Brent or Kimberly Anderson’s families, Perdue argued in the motion.
   Kimberly Anderson’s attorney recently filed a motion in Auglaize County Probate Court to have Kevin Anderson removed as executor of his deceased brother’s estate. The motion filed by her attorney, Connie F. Zemmelman of Toledo, alleges that Kevin Anderson is depleting the estate’s assets by pursuing the wrongful death suit with the estate’s assets “to the clear detriment of the very individuals the civil action claims to benefit.”
   Kimberly Anderson, the couple’s two minor children and Brent Anderson’s daughter, Justine Anderson, are the sole beneficiaries of the estate. Kimberly Anderson was not appointed executor when Brent Anderson died because she was codeged with his death.
   According to the motion for executor removal, Kevin Anderson paid a law firm more than $6,000 to file the first wrongful death civil suit against Kimberly Anderson — a lawsuit that was later dismissed. According to Kimberly Anderson, the estate’s liquid assets currently are $16,875.56. The motion states that Kimberly Anderson has no insurance “that covers the events giving rise to her husband’s death.”
   A hearing on the motion to remove executor is set for April 15. Kimberly Anderson could be reassigned as executor of the estate since she’s been found innocent of her husband’s death.
   Kimberly Anderson, 39, was indicted on murder codeges three months after the September 2001 shooting of Brent Anderson, and later acquitted at a trial in October 2002. Kimberly Anderson maintained she shot her husband in self-defense as he came after her. The couple were separated and a divorce was pending at the time.


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