Grove family dentist Karl Jobst is appealing an Aug. 8 judgment issued against him in U. S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma.
The court ruled in favor of Allstate Insurance Company, agreeing with its assessment that Jobst and the son of Jobst's deceased girlfriend had entered into a deal to absolve Jobst of financial responsibility for her death in a June 13, 2003, automobile accident in which Jobst was allegedly driving drunk. Jobst, a former Lamar resident, faces a Nov. 4 preliminary hearing in McDonald County Circuit Court on an involuntary manslaughter charge stemming from the accident.
The legal action apparently revolves around an attempt by Jobst and Chandler to have Allstate, which insures Jobst's dental business, to pay for the accident by claiming it took place while Jobst and Ms. Chandler were conducting dental business.
The opinion featured a recounting of the circumstances surrounding Ms. Chandler's death"
On June 13, 2003, Jobst met her at his home in Grove. Ms. Chandler lived in Tulsa and worked for a dentist in Owasso, "but she often spent the weekends with Jobst at his home in Grove. Chandler had been romantically involved with Jobst for approximately five years, living with him for several years before she moved to Tulsa," the opinion said. She usually stayed with on weekends.
At about 7 p.m. that evening, they drove to Joplin to have dinner "as they had on numerous other occasions. However, Jobst claims that on this particular night he and Chandler's dinner trip was purely for 'business purposes.' He also claims that Chandler 'owned the car that was involved in the accident."
The car was a 1999 white BMW convertible which Jobst bought, titled, insured with GEICO and borrowed $28,000 from the bank of Oklahoma for during the 10 days prior to the accident, the opinion said.
The two went to Club 609 in Joplin "consuming more than two bottles of wine." As they returned to Oklahoma, "they heard a radio announcement for a nightclub called 'The Shadow Lake Bar' in Noel and detoured to pay a visit."
The opinion says that Jobst told Ms. Chandler's sister, Betty Cartright, after the accident, that they went to the bar to "check out the dancing." That was not what he claimed later, when he said they were there to "conduct further dentistry business." In court documents, Jobst has indicated he was trying to get Ms. Chandler, who had previously worked for him, to return to her old job.
"Almost immediately upon leaving the bar in the early morning hours of June 14, 2003, they were involved in a single-car accident when Jobst lost control of the car. He was injured and Chandler was killed. Both Jobst and Chandler were intoxicated," the opinion said.
Just three days later, Joseph Chandler filed a lawsuit against Jobst in Delaware County Circuit Court, suing him for actual and punitive damages. "GEICO, Jobst's automobile insurer, provided a defense and filed the pleadings and papers on his behalf."
Allstate claims that a little less than a year later, the relationship between Jobst and his dead girlfriend's son "changed from disputing litigants to cooperative partners whose singular objective was collecting Allstate's business insurance for the Chandler estate."
A legal agreement was drawn up including Jobst, his dental business, Chandler, and GEICO, which featured the following stipulations:
-"GEICO, on behalf of Karl Jobst, would pay Jobst's auto liability policy limits of coverage ($100,000) to (Chandler)."
-"In return for the payment of GEICO's limits of auto liability coverage, both Karl Jobst individually and Karl Jobst, P. C. (the business) were completely absolved from legal liability for the payment of any damages as a result of the death of Helen Chandler. Karl Jobst's personal assets and the corporate assets of Karl Jobst, P. C. were specifically exempted from all claims or actions from Chandler's injury and death."
-"Karl Jobst was required by the agreement to 'aggressively pursue" coverage against Allstate and 'zealously defend' this federal declaratory action over Allstate's disputed coverage, 'in order to procure insurance coverage.' "
On Nov. 29, 2004, the day the covenant was executed, GEICO applied to withdraw its defense of Jobst in the Delaware County lawsuit. On the same day, Chandler amended his petition to add Jobst's business as a defendant. Jobst's attorney, representing both him and his business, filed an answer, admitting liability and dropping any defense against the action.
The court entered a summary judgment against Jobst and Chandler. "Because Karl Jobst is absolved from legal liability for paying damages by the Covenant Not to Execute," the opinion said, "Karl Jobst, P.C. is released as a matter of law."