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Behlmann v. Century Surety Co.

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

July 24, 2015

David Behlmann, Plaintiff - Appellant
v.
Century Surety Company, Defendant - Appellee State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, Defendant

Submitted June 9, 2015.

Page 961

Appeal from United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri - St. Louis.

For David Behlmann, Plaintiff - Appellant: Jill Bollwerk, Jeffrey Andrew Herman, Phillip A. Tatlow, Bollwerk & Tatlow, Saint Louis, MO.

For Century Surety Company, Defendant - Appellee: Patrick A. Bousquet, Bradley Richard Hansmann, Brown & James, Saint Louis, MO.

Before GRUENDER, MELLOY, and BENTON, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 962

BENTON, Circuit Judge.

After a car accident, David Behlmann sued his insurer, Century Surety Co., for underinsured motorist benefits. The jury found for Century. Behlmann requested a new trial, challenging the evidence on the value of his medical treatment and the strike of the only African-American venireperson. The district court[1] denied a new trial. Behlmann appeals. Having jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291, this court affirms.

I.

Behlmann's car was hit by a car driven negligently by Craig Sheffer. Behlmann was billed $89,884.79 for medical treatment. To pay the bills, he needed $38,298.77 (due to insurance discounts/payments). Behlmann settled with Sheffer for $50,000, the limit of Sheffer's policy. Claiming injuries over $50,000, Behlmann sued Century for underinsured motorist benefits.

At trial, Century argued that Behlmann's medical treatment cost less than $50,000 and resulted from pre-existing conditions. Century introduced a stipulation of the amount billed to Behlmann ($89,884.79) and the amount needed to pay the bills ($38,298.77). The court admitted the stipulation under § 490.715.5 RSMo.

Page 963

During voir dire, over Behlmann's objection, Century used a peremptory strike on Juror 4--the only African ...


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