May 30, 2023

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Kayla Giles’ attorney disputes ‘conclusion’ reached by insurance company in self-defense civil suit

ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) – Kayla Giles has filed her federal response to an ongoing civil attempt to recover money from a self-defense insurance policy she purchased when she killed her estranged husband in a Walmart parking lot on Sept. 8, 2018.

Giles was convicted by a Rapides Parish jury on Jan. 29 of second-degree murder and obstruction of justice for the deadly shooting of Thomas Coutee, Jr. during a custody exchange. She will be sentenced on March 28. In Louisiana, a conviction of second-degree murder carries a mandatory life sentence.

Twelve days before Giles killed Coutee, Jr., she bought the gun she used at an Academy store in Dallas, Texas and a “platinum member” status self-defense policy. According to a complaint filed by Giles in Sept. 2019, United Specialty Insurance Company and/or Delta Defense, LLC paid $50,000 for legal defense of the total amount allowed of $150,000. However, they “refused further payment” due to the pending criminal charges she faced in Rapides Parish of second-degree murder and obstruction of justice.

The complaint also stated that Giles incurred fees and expenses “in excess” of the amount limits of the policy.

The federal case was on hold until the criminal case wrapped up. Judge Dee Drell lifted a “stay,” which now allows the matter to move forward, earlier this month.

United Specialty Insurance Company and Delta Defense, LLC are trying to get Judge Drell to grant a motion for summary judgment, which could essentially free them of the legal matter. On Tuesday, Giles’ attorney, Thomas ‘Rocky’ Willson, filed responses to those motions.

The motion for summary judgment filed by United Specialty Insurance Company was filed under seal in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana in Alexandria, so its contents are unknown. However, the response to the motion filed by Willson is not sealed.

In his response, Willson wrote that Giles, at her criminal trial, “did not testify and continues to maintain her innocence.” Willson wrote that the issue before the federal court “is whether the actions of plaintiff constitute an act of self-defense within the terms of the policy. Specifically, the issue is whether the force used was against ‘an imminent threat of death or great bodily injury by an aggressor,’ was ‘reasonable under the circumstances and proportionate to the threat,’ and ‘permitted by applicable law.’”

Willson said the facts listed by the insurance company are “essentially correct.” He disputed, however, “the conclusion reached” by the insurance company.

Within his argument, Willson noted that the phrase “imminent threat of death or great bodily injury” is “subjective.” Willson is essentially arguing that Giles believed Coutee, Jr. was a threat and that’s why she shot him, and because of that, “the plaintiff was in compliance with the terms of the policy.”

Willson filed a much shorter response to the motion for summary judgment filed by Delta Defense, LLC. That company is looking for its motion to be granted because it believes Giles cannot present any evidence showing that the company is an insurance company, “or has any involvement in the denial of her claim.”

In his official response, Willson wrote that Giles “has no response” to the motion filed by Delta Defense, LLC.

Both companies now have seven days to submit their responses to Giles’ responses to the court.

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