Minor family wins $1.56 million verdict against USAA in Jackson County court ~ Anita Lee
USAA attorney Greg Copeland did not return a telephone call to comment about the case.
Gee, seems like just yesterday Copeland was backslapping and celebrating……
No ruling on Jackson County Sheriff Mike Byrd’s bond revocation today ~ April Havens
Government rebuts Ladner’s collusion complaint ~ Dwayne Bremer
Rocks crush Sumrall, 55-0 ~ Joe Gex II
I’ve known Dave pretty much all my life. He comes from a fine family and is a fine choice for the insurance industry advisory board to the NFIP. Being from Bay St Louis he had a ring side seat after Katrina to the myriad of ways insurers defrauded the NFIP for example and witnessed first hand the human toll of the bad faith claims handling procedures employed by certain insurers, so he takes the human equation with him to the quarterly DC meetings as well. Dave’s business acumen means he also has a good understanding of the internal controls needed at NFIP, most notably a bit of oversight, to insure that major retail insurers never defraud the program again.
Anita Lee has all the details at the Sun Herald and in a great example of a broken clock being right twice a day, she even snagged some quotes from Jimbo the Clown’s sidekick, Mississippi Insurance commissioner Mikey “The Cook” Chaney who shares our sentiments about Dave and what he brings to the table. Unfortunately for the citizens of Mississippi, Mikey does not recognize fraud even when it bites him on the ass unless it is an individual defrauding a major multinational insurer. Fortunately for us at Slabbed, Mikey doesn’t know when to shut his mouth but such is a common trait with the political class. We’ll be visiting on him again soon.
Again our congratulations to Dave Treutel and we’re delighted to have in him as our voice within the NFIP. Well done Dave!
Enter stage left: Rachel Savoy – seasoned adjuster of the policyholder’s claims under both their Flood and State Farm policies (Taranto v State Farm)
Q: …Can you give me a description of what, in you experience and knowledge of adjusting claims, what does concurrent causation mean to you in handling a claim?
A: Any loss that occurs with the covered loss and a non-covered loss whether it be before or after or during is not covered. [Exhibit C; Savoy depo at pp. 32-33; http://bit.ly/bAjCJ1].
Savoy further explains the application of the concurrent cause part of the policy,
Q. OK and when you say that something is not covered if the cause of the loss is combined to create a loss in any sequence of events; is that correct?
A. That’s my understanding.
Q. Ok. And is that a method with which you have applied the concurrent causation exclusion over your experience over the eleven, twelve years?
A. Yes. [Exhibit C; Savoy Depo at p. 33; http://bit.ly/aOCPI8].
Compliments of Anita Lee’s blog in the Sun Herald, we have An entertaining legal brief? You bet. The briefs – Plaintiffs’ Response Brief in Opposition to Motion for Summary Judgment (Toranto et al v State Farm) and Plaintiffs’ Response Brief in Opposition to Motion for Summary Judgment (Flores et al v State Farm) are as solidly grounded in law as they are innovative in format. Plaintiffs in both cases are represented by Mississippi attorney Darryl Gibbs with Louisiana’s John Denena Pro Hac Vice. Continue reading “Grab the popcorn – Video depositions of State Farm adjusters hyperlinked in plaintiffs' Response”
First the systemic:
Insurance companies basically sell security. A consumer is willing to pay insurance premiums in the expectation that if something bad happens—a house burns down, a car crashes—the company will pay for the loss that otherwise might financially ruin the consumer.
I had homeowners (wind/hail) through USAA, I also purchased my flood coverage through USAA. After Katrina I had a slab and pilings left. The National Flood Insurance policy paid off fairly quickly. Concerning my Wind/Hail coverage, USAA sent me a letter saying “Where there is no coverage, no payment can be made”. I decided to fight them. I attended the State Ins. Dept. sponsored arbitration, where USAA offered my about ten cents on the dollar. I signed an impasse statement and did not accept their offer. I hired my own experts (structure and weather) and kept the pressure on USAA. Approaching the 3 year anniversary of Katrina, USAA sent me a check for the full insured value of my home with no explanation. I lost the interest on the payment for three years
Now for the complete denial. This from team USAA last October: Continue reading “Systemic Denial: A Corban v USAA postscript”
Anita Lee has all the scoop as the wind water debate rages in the commentary to her story. I suspect, given the related Mississippi Supreme Court decision, USAA paid up big. (Our exhaustive coverage of Corban can be found by clicking here.) Sadly for the public, we will not get to see Mr Haney lose another big case for USAA like Lisanby. Congratulations to the Corbans and their legal team of Judy Guice, Buddy Gunn, Flip Phillips and Chris Van Cleave. Rather than quote the news story lets visit with Anita’s blog for her take on the news:
The landmark Katrina case, Corban vs. USAA, has settled on the usual “undisclosed terms.”
The case established that wind damage is covered even if water contributes to the loss, a fact insurance companies tried to fight after Hurricane Katrina.
The Mississippi Supreme Court decision came in October 2009, far too late to help countless policyholders who settled under an erroneous federal ruling that came down much earlier.
The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals could have certified the question to Mississippi’s Supreme Court, which has say over state-governed insurance contracts, but chose not to.
The federal legal system, in fact, has let down policyholders in more ways than one. Magistrate Judge Robert Walker in particular Continue reading “BREAKING: Corban v USAA settles”
To understand the significance of the Mississippi Supreme Court’s decision in Corban v. USAA, it is necessary to consider the financial devastation and unnecessary insurance coverage litigation caused by the absence of it during the four years from the date Hurricane Katrina hit Mississippi’s gulf coast.
Merlin’s lead grabbed my attention as did his page one footnote referencing SLABBED:
The obliterated structures have been termed by those in Mississippi’s gulf coast “slabbed,” as there was literally nothing but a slab left where homes and businesses once stood. Slabbed is also the name of a blog that has chronicled the reconstruction efforts and struggles with the insurance industry along the way. For more on this topic and stories behind the Katrina litigation, see http://www.slabbed.org.
Since Merlin’s blog provides what he calls the “Reader’s Digest version” of his article for the Mississippi Law Journal, SLABBED moves from his lead to the references to Bossier v State Farm and Robohm v State Farm in his Conclusion: (emphasis added)
While the Corban decision made it clear that insurers cannot use the ACC and wind/water protocol to evade their burdens under an all-risk policy, State Farm’s trial motions show that it is still using both to deny claims. One month after Corban was released, State Farm tried to shirk its obligations with a tortured interpretation of Continue reading “Mississippi Law Journal publishes “…Rendered far too late” – Chip Merlin on Corban v USAA”
The subject policy contains language commonly referred to as the “Anti-Concurrent Causation Provision” or “Weather Conditions” exclusion which State Farm has characterized as preventing any recovery for wind damage when the insured property also sustains damage caused by another weather condition… The Mississippi Supreme Court has rejected the argument that the anti-concurrent clause is not ambiguous or not enforceable. The Mississippi Supreme Court held, in Corban v. United Services Automobile Assn., 20 So.3d at ,-r,-r 32, 40-41, that the anti-concurrent clause was ambiguous and unenforceable to the extent that it purported to exclude any wind loss if it occurred separately from and in any sequence to excluded water loss.
State Farm has already argued this exact issue before the United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi in another identical Hurricane Katrina related case this month. (See Memorandum Opinion in Charles Spansel and Janet Spansel v. State Farm Fire and Casualty Company…) In Spansel, the District Court found that “State Farm has not shown it is entitled to summary judgment on this portion (anti-concurrent clause) of the declaratory judgment claim”. In light of this ruling and others like it, the doctrine of collateral estoppels prohibits State Farm from contending here that the contract for insurance is not ambiguous as to any perceived anti-concurrent clause.
Plaintiffs’ Motion for Declaratory Judgment, one of five motions the Robohms filed on the 19th of January, was followed on the docket by State Farm’s Motion for Summary Judgment or in the alternative Partial Summary Judgment and supporting Memorandum:
Plaintiffs’ claim for declaratory judgment fails because…it is at odds with Mississippi Supreme Court precedent establishing that the water damage exclusion in the applicable policy unambiguously excludes damage from storm surge and that the anti-concurrent causation clause excludes damage caused by wind and flood acting concurrently. See Corban v. United Servs. Auto. Ass’n, 20 So. 3d 601,614-15 (Miss. 2009).
Buckle up, folks. We’re going to the other end of the Coast – 423 East Beach Drive, Ocean Springs – and way back to see what this case is about before discussing the other motions filed yesterday. Continue reading “Robohms issue reality check in motions filed today! Robohm v State Farm”
From the oral arguments in Corban, of which Lynda is obviously not familar. In Nationwide’s world it wasn’t the covered peril that controls, rather the mythical uncovered peril that might have destroyed the property had that pesky covered peril not occured.
JUSTICE PIERCE: So you’re sequencing, if 95 percent of the home was destroyed, and then we have the event of the storm surge, then you would not pay a dime?
MR. LANDAU: Your Honor, if we prove that the storm surge was sufficient to cause – we have that burden, again, and that is absolutely crystal clear.
If we can prove that the storm surge was sufficient to cause all of this, it is no answer then to say, ‘Yeah, but I’m going to show it — I’m going to have somebody come in and say, “Look, guess what, the window was broken before the storm surge came and then wiped away the whole house.
But you don’t get into those kind Continue reading “Perhaps Lynda can explain why this is the policyholder’s fault?”
So, what’s up besides the Saints? Well, for starters there’s the trial of Bossier v State Farm that got underway yesterday after the jury was seated mid-afternoon. The grapevine reported there was time for opening statements (with no personal commentary re: Bossier’s motion in limine) and one witness before Court ended for the day. The second day began at 10am and hopefully I’ll get another grapevine report or there will be something in the Sun Herald.
State Farm filed an an 11th hour trial brief, but an interesting one nonetheless, that sets forth the Company’s position on the meaning of the Corban decision:
State Farm anticipates that Plaintiff at trial may attempt to satisfy his burden of proof merely by pointing to the totality of damage to his house at the conclusion of Hurricane Katrina. Continue reading “What’s the score? No, not the Saints game, I know they won – I’m talkin’ Katrina litigation and then some”
Amazing, is it not, that Judge Walker could find no reason to lawfully deny Burger’s motion to file an amended complaint; yet, Judge Ozerden had no problem finding a reason to deny O’Keefe’s:
State Farm Fire maintains that there is a suggestion of bad faith in Plaintiffs’ attempt to add State Farm Mutual, and that allowing Plaintiffs to amend their Complaint to add this Defendant would result in undue delay and would be futile…The Fifth Circuit has interpreted “futility” in the amended pleading context to mean that an amended complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted…
Clearly Judge Ozerden sees a distinction between State Farm Fire and State Farm Mutual. However, his collegue Judge Starrett has declared it a distinction without a difference:
General Hood made some effort to distinguish State Farm Mutual Automobile Company, a mutual insurance company, from State Farm Fire and Casualty Company, a stock insurance company. The Court believes this to be a distinction without a difference, since all of the stock in the stock company is in fact owned by the mutual company.
Judge Starrett’s opinion on the relationship between State Farm Mutual and State Farm Fire is found in his Order of recusal, entered in State Farm v Hood (October 10, 2007).
Hood’s position is understandable with a look at the settlement agreement at issue in the injunction State Farm obtained in Starrett’s court prior to his recusal.
Note the Settlement Agreement is specific to Hood’s case against defendant State Farm Fire! Continue reading “Judge Starrett on State Farm Fire and State Farm Mutual – a distinction without a difference”