Our readers may remember we have covered the developments in this case here and here. Today Anita Lee reports the Mississippi Supreme Court has agreed to hear the appeal from Judge Dodson’s courtroom on whether the anti concurrent clause is ambiguous and thus unenforceable. Alternatively the state Supremes could ratify the 5th Circuit’s reasoning in Tuepker and/or Leonard or they could muck things up badly.
Again I think Justice Jess Dickinson’s vote will be the interesting one to watch as this case unfolds. Now for Anita Lee’s report:
The Mississippi Supreme Court has agreed to decide how an insurance policy should be interpreted in a wind vs. water dispute over Hurricane Katrina claims.
In Corban vs. USAA, Long Beach policyholders argue the insurance company should cover wind damage to their property, regardless of damage caused by water. Water damage is excluded from coverage. USAA and other insurers argue that policy language also excludes coverage for a combination of wind and water.
The Supreme Court is expected to resolve the issue before the case goes to trial in Circuit Court.
The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has sided with insurance companies, finding that policies bar coverage when wind and water act in sequence to destroy property. The Supreme Court is not bound to follow the federal appellate court’s ruling, however, because state law governs insurance contracts.
The Corbans say wind destroyed their property before Katrina’s storm surge, but USAA says storm surge washed out the first floor. The company paid for what it considered independent wind damage to the second floor.
The court also said it will accept support briefs from Policyholders of America on behalf of the Corbans and from Allstate for USAA. Justice Oliver Diaz Jr., who is from the Coast, presided on the three-judge panel that agreed to accept the case for the court.