Judge rules against widow of Whitaker

Doug Whitaker

A federal judge has sided with an insurance company in a lawsuit between the company and the family of a prominent resident who was killed in a 2017 plane crash.

Chief U.S. District Judge Karen Caldwell issued the judgement Monday in the dispute between U.S. Specialty Insurance Company (USSIC) and the Estate of Quinton Doug Whitaker, stating that the family of Whitaker is not entitled to more than the $100,000 that USSIC's policy allows.

The suit stems from a crash on Nov. 12, 2017 which claimed the lives of Whitaker, pilot Scott T. Foster, Foster's son Noah, and Kyle Stewart.

USSIC filed the federal suit asking for a judgement after Whitaker's widow, Sara Whitaker, sought to collect $100,000 each for herself, three minor children and Doug Whitaker's Estate - $500,000 total.

USSIC, however, contended that the policy allowed for $100,000 per person injured/deceased in an accident, not $100,000 per family member of the deceased.

In issuing the judgement, Caldwell states, "[T]he Court determines that the language of the Policy is unambiguous. … It is also apparent from the Policy that the recovery for each passenger of Mr. Foster's plane, including Mr. Whitaker, is capped at $100,000. This $100,000 per-passenger limit includes derivative and consequential claims. As such, Defendants, as survivors of Mr. Whitaker, may not seek additional recovery by way of loss of consortium claims."

Doug Whitaker joined Foster's law practice right before the accident. Whitaker was a former chaplain for the Somerset Police Department.

As of yet, the National Transportation Safety Board has not released a final report on the accident.