Another State Farm Katrina Case settled as trial is set to begin

Trial was to start yesterday in McCoy v. State Farm in the U.S. District for the Southern District of Mississippi before Judge L.T. Senter Jr., but the case settled before a jury was picked. Terms were not disclosed.  The issues are by now familiar: this was a "slab" case where the McCoy home was washed away by Katrina storm surge, but the question was how much wind damage preceded it.  The answer? At least $8,354.28, because that is the amount State Farm paid Michael McCoy for wind damage a month ago, after State Farm’s trial experts visited the site and reassessed damage evaluations. Before that the insurer denied wind damage coverage. 

McCoy said that $8,300 was not enough.  He claimed his full policy limits of $189,000, which included $108,000 for the house and $81,000 contents coverage.  He also claimed $5 million in punitive damages.  Regarding the check to McCoy, you may remember that earlier this year in the Broussard v. State Farm case, the lack of any amount of wind damage payment, despite the finding by a State Farm expert that some wind damage could have occurred, was a big factor in Judge Senter’s directed verdict in the case.  Not saying the two things are necessarily related, I’m just sayin’. 

You can see the legal tug-of-war for yourself, if you care to, in this pdf of the Pretrial Order.  As you can see from the Pretrial Order, McCoy had no flood insurance, so in the trial, what he did not collect from his homeowners policy would have been a direct loss from this pocket.  

Here’s an advance story on the case from the Sun Herald.  I’ll tell you what, when I read this story I couldn’t quite make out just what it was, a post from a blog the paper might be running or something that actually appeared in its pages or online as a news story.  Dang, I hope it wasn’t in the official version of the paper, it seems startlingly partisan to be labeled news.  

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