A jury in Texas sent a message to insurance companies recently about the unfair treatment of their policyholders by awarding a maintenance supervisor $70 million in his lawsuit against an apartment complex insurer.

Charles Tate slipped and fell with a chainsaw while trimming trees at an apartment complex in San Antonio. He suffered severe neck and shoulder injuries which make manual labor impossible for him. Under the law, the insurance company was to pay for retraining in a career of his choice; in this case, as a real estate agent. The jury awarded $30 million to Mr. Tate in punitive damages alone, stating Tate suffered mental anguish when Discover Property and Casualty Insurance Co., and JI Specialty Services, which administers claims for Discover, knowingly engaged in an unfair and deceptive act when denying him the rehabilitative retraining, even after the Texas Department of Insurance Worker’s Compensation Division ruled with Tate on six different occasions.

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