When Hjalmer Heikkinen, 84, a West Allis barber was severely injured in an auto accident in 2002 by longtime Legion of Mary volunteer Margaret Morse, member of Christ the King Parish, Wauwatosa, the Archdiocese of Milwaukee was found liable.
Not from what I had heard, as Tom Armstrong, attorney, later explains.
"There was no claim that the church or the archdiocese was liable for acts of the volunteer or whether the volunteer had an insurance policy," he said.
The claim, rather, was that the Archdiocese's policy with Catholic Mutual Insurance Company covered Ms. Morse while driving for the Legion of Mary at Christ the King. The courts held that it did.
"The phrase, 'on behalf of (parish or archdiocese),' which was used at the time of the Legion of Mary accident, has been removed and replaced with 'agent,'" Hatfield [Molly Hatfield, claims risk manager with Catholic Mutual] said.
The Court of Appeals opinion is Heikkinen v. United Services Automobile Assn., 2006 WI App 207.