Reaction to Corban Ripple Across the Media

Anita Lee’s story on Corban is here with commentary from head III shill Robert Hartwig himself (picture found here). The bottom line per Judy Guice:

“To me, this was always much more than just a business issue. This was a personal issue to me. Getting the law straight was really one of the critical parts of my recovery and I’m relieved that has now happened.

“The overwhelming feeling I have right now is relief that our children and grandchildren, and everybody else who had to suffer like we’ve all suffered since Hurricane Katrina, will not be stuck with the harsh law, the incorrect law that was previously created and has now been corrected by our Mississippi Supreme Court.”

Chip Merlin has written a series of 3 posts on Corban which address all the fine points of the decision. This is from Part 2:

This ruling confirms State Farm’s Wind/Water Protocol is the wrong test under Mississippi law because it improperly shifted the burden upon the policyholder to prove that the wind caused the damage rather than the insurer having to prove that the damage was excluded. Corban undermines the Fifth Circuit reversal of Judge Senter in Broussard vs. State Farm and as I suggested in Broussard’s Bad Faith Decision Impaired by the Mississippi Supreme Court.

There is one important mistake the Court did make in its decision when it held:

With respect to the “named perils” coverage of “Coverage C – Personal Property,” the Corbans are required to prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the “direct physical loss” to the property described in Coverage C was caused by wind.

There is no named peril of “wind.” Policies have always required the policyholder to prove damage by the named peril of “windstorm.” In insurance lore and law, there is a big distinction. The most significant for Katrina victims is that a hurricane is a “windstorm.” The policyholder can easily prove that.

Parts 1 & 3 can be found here and here.

The AP story on Corban is carried by the Clarion Ledger and Mobile Press-Register. WLOX’s report is here and was the first to include reaction from PR at USAA, which predictably tries to spin things a different way. (Aye aye Admiral)

A question that comes to my mind is whether Leonard has continued applicability in Louisiana and Texas? The decision certainly ranks as one of Edith Jones’ worst in terms of plain ignorance of established legal principal. Thanks to Corban, the problems with Leonard are fixed in Mississippi.


7 thoughts on “Reaction to Corban Ripple Across the Media”

  1. Indeed, the Leonard case exhibits the far rights exercise of raw judicial power. One can only conclude that the Fifth Circuit decision making leaves our Nation in a position of willful blindness to evolving knowledge, which should trouble any dispassionate observer not only about the wind/water decision, but about a number of other areas in which the court unhesitatingly steps into the realm of social policy under the guise of constitutional adjudication. Leonard should go down in history as the zenith of far right judical activism. The Mississippi Supreme Court has followed established law and returned the sanctity of the contract to our Nation.

    In the end this may be the story of how an ambitious member of the judical branch of government cowtowed to big business in a self serving attempt to gain appointment to our Supreme Court. Blind power coupled with blind ambition is the brick and mortar of bad judical decisions.

  2. Once again, this decision is very important for Mississippi policyholders, but not so much for La. policyholders. The ACC has not reared its head in La., mostly because the levee breaks occurred hours after the strongest winds occurred. I will admit, litigating in La. has been made difficult by our inept federal judiciary, but not to the extent experienced by our Ms, brethern.

    The only place where the ACC could have possibly been an issue here in La. was in Plaquemines Parish. However, in the Plaquemines cases, no insurer has releied on the preposterous interpretation advanced by Nationwide.

    The fact is State Farm always backed down when we filed Summary Judgment on the applicability of the ACC to Katrina claims in La. State Farm knew the Wind/Water Protocol was wrong and as an attorney you had to simply crystalize why it was wrong from a LEGAL STANDPOINT!

    Great for Ms., but no real impact on La.

  3. One day, “someone” will (I hope) publish my Complaint(s) of Judicial Misconduct against a number of Fifth “Circus” Judges. I know that I averred that Judge Garwood, who I like(d) and respect(ed) before I had reason to believe he became part of a conspiracy to deprive me and my clients of due process of law, by violating his oath of office, is guilty of misconduct. I can’t recall whether Jones made my “hit parade”. All of the Fifth “Circus” Judges are POLITICIANS, who owe their status to a “host” of people, with whom they routinely communicate ex parte about things Judges shouldn’t talk about, except perhaps with their law clerks, who also may be part of the “problem” in our system of “injustice”. WHERE IS THE GODDAMNED FBI?

  4. But the 5th Circuit did not say definitively that the insurer had the burden to prove how much of the loss was caused by flooding and the 5th Circuit did not say definitively that all the damage that occurred before the flooding was not excluded by ACC or the flood exclusion. Those were the key points of the MSSC ruling in Corban and those points agreed with Senter, not the 5th. The 5th Circuit dodged both of those questions even though they were central to Broussard and almost every Katrina case in Mississippi. The 5th Circuit let the insurers dodge the burden of proof.
    This is not an ACC decision. This is finally the burden of proof decision that has been needed for four years.

  5. “Jones has been mentioned frequently as being on the list of potential nominees to the Supreme Court of the United States. A 1990 report from The New York Times cited her as George H.W. Bush’s second choice for the Supreme Court vacancy filled by Justice David Souter.[2] The Chicago Sun-Times and several other newspapers reported on July 1, 2005 that she had also been considered for nomination to the Supreme Court during the presidency of George W. Bush.” Wikipedia

Comments are closed.