The Texas Supreme Court proved that it’s not squeamish today, when it accepted for review Evanston Insurance Co. v. Legacy Of Life Inc., a case containing certified questions sent to the high court from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The Legacy of Life case relates to body parts — body parts of humans, that is. Sure, the case involves normally dry insurance coverage issues. But as laid out in the 5th Circuit’s revised July 21 opinion in Legacy Of Life, the questions are these: 1. Does the insurance policy provision for coverage of “personal injury,” defined therein as “bodily injury, sickness, or disease including death resulting therefrom sustained by any person,” include coverage for mental anguish, unrelated to physical damage to or disease of the plaintiff’s body? 2. Does the insurance policy provision for coverage of “property damage,” defined therein as “physical injury to or destruction of tangible property, including consequential loss of use thereof, or loss of use of tangible property which has not been physically injured or destroyed,” include coverage for the underlying plaintiff’s loss of use of her deceased mother’s tissues, organs, bones and body parts? The question of "whether body parts, organs, and tissues fall within an insurance policy's definition of 'tangible property' " is a case of first impression, according to the insurer's brief to the 5th Circuit. But Legacy claims in its brief that the court need not address that issue for several reasons. The underlying suit in which coverage has been disputed involves a woman who donated her mother’s body to a company and later sued them after she alleged that company sold her mother’s body parts for profit.
--- John Council