Nationwide Insurance appeals $14.5 million judgment for Boardman woman

Staff report


Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. has filed its notice of appeal of the $14.5 million judgment for Christine Lucarell, a former Nationwide agent, who sued the Columbus-based insurance company.

A jury had awarded Lucarell $42.8 million after a trial last fall, but last month, visiting Judge Thomas J. Pokorny of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court reduced that $14.5 million.

Nationwide filed the appeal notice Friday in the 7th District Court of Appeals here.

Last month, Judge Pokorny overruled Nationwide’s motion for a new trial, unless Lucarell wanted one on the issue of damage amounts alone.

On April 30, Lucarell filed a notice saying she did not want a new trial concerning damage amounts and would take her award in the amount spelled out by the judge.

In her civil lawsuit, Lucarell, of Boardman, alleged that Nationwide enrolled her in an agency executive program, then withheld financing from her agency and made her working conditions so intolerable she was forced to quit.

Nationwide has asked that Judge Pokorny’s stay of all payments from Nationwide to Lucarell continue pending the appeal.

Nationwide’s notice of appeal said issues before the appeals judges will likely include whether judgment as a matter of law or a new trial should have been granted on Lucarell’s breach-of-contract claims and whether the punitive damage awards were appropriate.

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