The newly published Order and Reasons of Louisiana federal district Judge Eldon Fallon (Carpenter v State Farm) gives homeowners’ lawyers across the Country support for arguments to defeat a Motion for Summary Judgment on the mold and ALE provisions of a policy. Judge Fallon also reasoned State Farm can not declare a home habitable and cut off ALE when policyholders attempt to live in horrible conditions.
“…After the Plaintiffs evacuated during Hurricane Katrina, they returned home in September of 2005 to find that their house had been damaged by the storm. The house had not flooded, but the Plaintiffs reported other damage including roof damage and a carpet that was wet and moldy. From the time that they returned home in September until sometime in December, the Plaintiffs lived in their damaged home. In December, the Plaintiffs moved into a FEMA trailer on their property until April of 2006, when they moved to West Monroe, Louisiana. The plaintiffs still reside in West Monroe at this time… Continue reading “Newly published Order and Reasons – …if Plaintiff is able to prove that State Farm acted in bad faith and that this led to mold damage, then Plaintiff may be able to recover for this damage.”
The high water level or storm surge of a hurricane and specifically Hurricane Katrina is generally misunderstood by the general public. Most people think that the storm surge is a virtual wall of sea water that suddenly comes ashore as the hurricane makes landfall.
While this may be true to some extent at the actual center of the eyewall of a hurricane as it makes landfall, it is not true for the storm surge or high water away from the center of the storm. Rather, the rising of the storm surge or high water is a gradual occurrence as you get further from the center -of the storm, even in the most intense winds of the northeast quadrant of the hurricane.
I have interviewed two eyewitnesses to the Hurricane Katrina high water occurrence, and they each tell very similar accounts. A third eye witness on lovers lane in Ocean Springs reportedly tells a similar account. The witnesses state that the water rose gradually, first in the edge of their yards, then by progression up to the steps of their house and finally up on the sides of the house to the highest water level.
The witnesses state that the high water stayed at the highest level for a short period of about 30 minutes and then receded in the same gradual manner as the water rose. The witnesses who gave these accounts were located in Pascagoula near the water; at D’Iberville on the Back Bay of Biloxi; and on the waterside of Lovers Lane in Ocean Springs. (emphasis added)
With Ted Biddy’s February 9, 2006 forensic analysis of the loss documenting wind speed and water level across the Coast , it is difficult to believe Nationwide let the Drake’s claim for ALE reach the point of litigation. The State’s windpool and the Federal flood program picked up the tab for the slab; and, all that was left for Nationwide to pay was approximately 1/10th of the total loss.
Nonetheless, four years after Katrina left the Drake’s with a slab, Nationwide is Continue reading “Drake v Nationwide goes another emotionally distressing round”