David S. Adams
Jewelry Exemption and Loss of Consortium Claims
KSA §60-2304 allows each Kansas resident up to $1,000.00 of jewelry to be exempt from attachment by creditors. This means that a husband and wife in bankruptcy would have up to $2,000.00 of jewelry protected from the trustee in their case. For the most part, jewelry is only at risk if 1) there has been an actual appraisal of jewelry within the last year or two, or 2) there is a separate jewelry rider on the homeowner's insurance policy. It is fair to say that it is exceedingly rare for a trustee to try to liquidate a debtors' wedding rings.....but not impossible.
Physical intimacy in a marriage is a very important and vital part of the relationship. The callous indifference of other drivers (or other persons generally) can result in injuries that cause significant and (at times) irreparable damage to this physical intimacy. Kansas and Missouri both allow for an additional item of damages to be provided to the spouse for this loss (consortium). As a practical matter, a separate itemization to a spouse for this part of a loss is usually reserved for more catastrophic cases. In any case, this type of damage can be included along with the other general pain and suffering damages that a jury would seek to award. The value a jury gives to this impact will depend on the particular jury, and on how well the attorney explains the extent of the impact.