ST. LOUIS – A St. Louis jury ordered an insurance company to pay $10 million to the mother of a teenager fatally shot outside a St. Louis nightclub on Christmas night in 2010.
Orlando Willis died in the shooting outside of the former Pulse nightclub at the age of 16 years old. Jurors order the nightclub’s insurance company [Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s of London] to pay Willis’ mother Latronya Adams.
The $10 million award stems from a lawsuit that Adams filed more than a decade ago, claiming the club’s operators were negligent by inviting minors to help set up and promote an adults-only event at the club.
In 2014, Adams settled with the nightclub’s landlord for $1 million and a St. Louis judge awarded her $5 million at a bench trial. Adams filed suit later that year seeking to force the insurance firm to pay for damages.
The insurance company’s lawyers argued at trial this week that the business owner’s policy included an “assault and battery” exclusion that allowed it to deny coverage. Adams’ lawyers argued the insurer was indifferent to her claims, failed to investigate them and acted in bad faith by refusing to settle.
Nine of the 12 jurors determined that the insurance company should be held liable.
The shooting at the center of the lawsuit ended with nine people struck by gunfire and also resulted in the death of 17-year-old Ranisha “Precious” Cole, according to court documents.