Judge Bridges: the negligence was not "gross"

The Sun Herald is reporting on Judge Bridges’s opinion in Lisanby v. USAA

Bridges’ decision came as a blow last week to attorneys for Adm. James Lisanby and his wife, Gladys, who won a judgment in court Friday against their insurer USAA for denying all but $46,000 of the Lisanbys’ claim that wind destroyed at least a third of their home. USAA said it was the storm’s surge, which is not covered under their homeowner policies.

Among the nearly $910,000 the jury awarded the Lisanbys was $86,000 each for mental distress and anxiety, which some thought should have opened the door for punitive damages.

In the opinion, Bridges found that USAA had an arguable basis for denying the claim, which is one of the tests, he listed.

“Mississippi law does not favor punitive damages,” Bridges wrote, “and such damages are… allowed only with caution and within narrow limits.”

He said that after reviewing the evidence he also found that USAA did not act with malice, gross negligence or fraud in handling the Lisanbys’ claim.

He said that doesn’t mean the company wasn’t negligent when it failed to pay the claim, as the jury verdict indicates, but that the negligence was not “gross.”

5 thoughts on “Judge Bridges: the negligence was not "gross"”

  1. The big news to me is at the end of the story Belle.

    USAA is appealing the ruling obviously counting on the bought and paid for judges at the Mississippi Supreme Court to carry their water.


  2. In that case, Sop, the negligence might be gross after all! There is no jury more able to rule in these cases than one of true peers – people who saw first hand that Katina’s damage often had no logic.

  3. Oh yeah, Sop. I guess that was kind of obvious to me. Hurricane Katrina, the windless hurricane in Mississippi where everyone knows that its laws are unique in that we don’t favor punis. Yeah Right!

  4. USAA’s argument is bogus. While the jury pool was wider in AIken it came from down here. I think what they are going after is the extracontractual damages. An appeal based on the jury is a slap at everyone here on the coast IMHO.

    You gotta know the Supreme Court wants no part of these cases, especially in an election year. I bet they try to sit on it until they think the coast is clear.


  5. folo is reporting that Judge Bridges has a friend in a former circuit court judge/USAA proponent in Robert Goza. Hmm.

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