Trayvon Martin’s mother is being sued by an insurance company in order to avoid a hefty payout as liability for her son’s shooting death.
Travelers Casualty and Surety Company of America has sued Sybrina Fulton, Martin’s mother, and The Retreat at Twin Lakes Homeowner’s Association, the gated community where Martin was shot and killed by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman in late February.
Travelers says it cannot be held financially liable for the homeowners association because of various clauses in the association’s policy, specifically a “wrongful act” exclusion.
“Travelers is in doubt of its rights under the policy and, by this petition, seeks a declaration of its rights and obligations with respect to the claim and demand made by Fulton upon Travelers and The Retreat at Twin Lakes as a result of the fatal shooting of Martin, and a finding by the court that under the above-referenced policy of insurance Travelers has no duty to indemnify or defend The Retreat at Twin Lakes in connection with the Fulton claim because coverage is precluded by the above exclusion,” the insurance company wrote in federal court paper filings.
On March 30, about a month after Trayvon Martin was killed, the homeowners association took out a liability policy with Travelers. Almost immediately thereafter, Trayvon’s mother, Fulton, made a claim for monetary damages in her son’s death, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
Travelers in its suit seeks clarification of its protections against Fulton’s claim, saying that it “is in doubt of its rights” under the policy.
Benjamin Crump, an attorney for Martin’s family, said the insurer’s suit essentially is seeking clarification on its obligations.
“It’s real simple: They are filing against the homeowners association and Sybrina because we are making a claim against them,” Crump said. “As lawyers we have to look out for our clients’ interest. We are trying to see what coverages there are for the homeowners association and what’s applicable. And Sybrina and Tracy [Martin, Trayvon’s father], they’re concerned about getting justice for their child.”
Crump adds that Fulton has yet to file suit against the homeowner’s association. She merely filed a claim for compensation for wrongful death, but a suit can be filed in the future, he explained.
In addition, Fulton is also seeking an undisclosed amount of money from the Crimes Compensation Trust Fund, which offers victims as much as $30,000, The Associated Press reports. The state attorney general’s office made the determination that Fulton eligible for compensation benefits but no check has been issued to date. More than 16,000 claims, totaling more than $25 million, were paid from the fund to victims in the 2010-2011 fiscal year.
Disbursements are generally used for the following reasons: to cover funeral expenses, compensate for lost wages, help cover medical expenses and grief and mental health counseling.