The trial resumes at 9:30 this morning. Judge L.T. Senter Jr. is expected to rule on how extensive testimony will be from two State Farm experts, an oceanographer and Florida university professor with a doctorate in engineering.
The witnesses are not licensed engineers, so Senter must decide if they can dispute a damage report, ordered by Bossier, in which a licensed engineer concluded that wind effectively destroyed the house.
Is State Farm trying to set up a run-to-mama-Jones appeal to the Fifth Circuit? I don’t know the answer but I’d bet a slab Judge Senter is giving the possibility a great deal of thought. Whatever else one can say about State Farm aside, no one would ever suggest the Company wrote “Insurance Claims Litigation for Dummies”– so there must be a reason the State Farm defense team looks like a bunch of monkeys f*&%#$% footballs in the Bossier trial. Anita Lee reports on what took place in court Thusday for the Sun Herald in State Farm manager notes: ‘Just say no’:
Two independent adjusters for State Farm testified in a Hurricane Katrina insurance trial Thursday that an 8-foot tidal surge destroyed the home of Reginald “Ed” and Katie Bossier on Back Bay, but both adjusters also said they could cover only visible wind damage. Continue reading “Oops! State Farm’s experts on damage to Bossier’s home aren’t licensed – Judge Senter to issue ruling today”
I am locked up in a meeting this afternoon and just about spit my coffee when I saw the latest on Bossier. In short, the Farm knows they are toast in Bossier and are now officially grasping for straws. Anita Lee, who is now offically part of the news cycle, reports for the Sun Herald:
U.S. District Judge L.T. Senter Jr. denied State Farm’s motion for a mistrial before a jury returned to the courtroom for a fourth day of testimony Thursday in a Katrina case, Bossier vs. State Farm.
State Farm attorneys sought the mistrial because of an article in Thursday morning’s Sun Herald. The article reported on Senter’s suggestion that the attorneys get with their client, State Farm, and try to settle the case.
Senter polled the jury and found two of the eight jurors had been told that an article was in the newspaper but they did not hear anything about the content. Continue reading “Breaking: State Farm files for mistrial in Bossier”
State Farm attorney Ben Mullen said the Mississippi Supreme Court only recently clarified that insurance companies bear the burden to prove water caused a loss before payment is denied.
Senter corrected him, saying, “That’s been the law since 1910, counsel.”
Anita Lee – of course – has the story for the Sun Herald – and what a story it is! According to Lee, it all started when Bossier had just finished presenting evidence that he should be paid policy limits of $650,000 on his Hurricane Katrina claim.
Senter dismissed the jury, then heard State Farm’s argument that the policyholder’s case was so weak the judge should dismiss it without rebuttal from the insurance company. Senter rejected the motion, then suggested State Farm consider making an offer to policyholder Reginald “Ed” Bossier that would end the trial.
Senter said the record so far includes “some pretty tough stuff” pertaining to the insurance company. “See what you can come up with,” Senter told the attorneys, “and everybody can come out of this with a degree of honor.” Continue reading “Judge Senter dismisses jury briefly, suggests State Farm settle with Bossier (can you belive it?)”
Can you post Senter’s Order from August 10? Order 344. I’d like to see the “criteria”.
In my hurried response to this request from SLABBED reader James Barbieri, I provided the link to Judge Senter’s Memorandum Opinion. However, both the Order and Opinion contain the criteria Judge Senter established for the list of claims he has ordered State Farm to deliver for his in camera review:
- The insured property did not fall within any of the three categories of storm damage for which FEMA approved payment of SFIP limits, i.e. insured dwellings that were not left as slabs, pilings, or empty shells; and
- For which SFIP limits were paid on the grounds the property was a constructive total loss; and
- For which no “stick built” or Exactimate estimation of the flood damage was made before the SFIP limits were paid.
Mr. Barbieri also requested the Attachments to Maurstad’s letter, which I’ve linked here as Memo and attachments Expedited Claim Handling Process – and added:
I’m also very interested in starting a discussion on the Maurstad letter. Continue reading “Let’s talk – the Maurstad directive on post-Katrina Expedited Claim Handling UPDATED”