KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KMIZ)
Missouri Court of Appeals Western District judges sided with Ryan Ferguson after an insurance company appealed a Boone County court ruling that awarded Ferguson $5.3 million in a wrongful conviction lawsuit.
St. Paul Fire and Marine Insurance Company, doing business as Travelers Insurance, covered the city of Columbia for law enforcement liability from 2006 to 2011 for up to $2 million per year. The company was ordered to give Ferguson $1 million for each year he was in prison under their policy. An additional $354,000 was awarded for Ferguson's legal fees.
The insurance company alleged the events described in the lawsuit happened before the city's insurance policy kicked in. The appeals court ruled the policy covered Ferguson's imprisonment, which it said is outlined in the policy's terms.
Ferguson was imprisoned for 10 years for the murder of Columbia Daily Tribune sports editor Kent Heitholt. State appeals court judges threw out his conviction in 2013, finding prosecutors withheld evidence from the defense.
A federal court awarded Ferguson more than $11 million in a settlement after he sued the city of Columbia along with police and prosecutors. The city and its current insurer paid out $2.75 million to Ferguson.
The three-judge panel denied Ferguson's cross-appeal that the circuit court erred in the amount of interest it awarded him.