Fifth Circuit reverses Broussard

Here’s a pdf of the opinion, just out. Not much time right now to blog, but for now, this excerpt at the end of the case says it all:

We REVERSE the judgment of the district court entering JMOL in favor of the Broussards. We REVERSE and VACATE the jury’s award of punitive damages. We AFFIRM the district court’s admission of testimony from the Broussards’ expert witness. We AFFIRM the district court’s denial of State Farm’s motion to change venue. We REMAND the case for a new trial.

12 Comments

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12 Responses to Fifth Circuit reverses Broussard

  1. Anderson

    Not even on the court’s website yet!
    Rossmiller rocks!
    (Would’ve liked to see more from the court on the Daubert issue – evidently, absence of peer-reviewed authority supporting the Broussards’ engineer was no obstacle.)

  2. Mississippian

    Man, you can’t snooze for even a day around here!

  3. Coast Boy

    SERIOUS loss for State Farm and every other property insurer writing wind coverage along the coasts of the 5th Circuit!!! The “Shifting Back” theory as the 5th put it, was soundly trumped. I think SF would gladly have paid 5 times the punitive count they got out of if they could have gotten that part of the decision in their favor. If it is always going to be up to a jury to determine whose expert to believe, there haven’t been alot of examples of that going the insurance company’s way on slab cases. Look for an even more concerted effort to “pull out of the area” in coastal zones where this could be a problem.
    I think this is going to be a real challenge to the industry until they get something through the MS Supreme Court to establish case law in their favor.

  4. Thick

    Coast Boy – are you simply delusional or consuming too many fermented sweet potatoes? The 5th Circuit’s ruling is but the latest in a long line of defeats for the plaintiff bar.

  5. WOW

    David…having trouble with your search feature on Tuepker…this remand indicates the parties must meet their burdens of proof as outlined in Tuepker….Most I’ve read have commented that Tuepker was a favorable ruling for the industry.

  6. Coast Boy

    I dont know about delusional but the “burden of proof” issue seemed to be the biggest issue at stake in this case. (Punitive damages to a company the size of SF while embarrassing are hardly, painful considering what they have paid to settle the other cases afterwards.) The court threw that issue squarely back into the realm of who puts on the better show at trial. While MOST of the time this is a good thing for the company -if- there is something left of the house to use for evidence, I dont recall any slab cases where the jury found for the insurer. I am open (and hopeful,) of being corrected but I have tried to follow these cases and just don’t remember seeing any slab case going against the insured. Other than the punitive issue, SF lost all the other points of its appeal.

  7. woW

    Ah success with the search feature….if the standard is Tuepker this is what was posted on that topic by Mr. Rossmiller:

    The Fifth Circuit, in an opinion released today in the appeal of Tuepker v. State Farm, reversed a lower court’s ruling that State Farm’s anti-concurrent cause language was ambiguous. The court also upheld State Farm’s flood exclusion as applying to hurricane storm surge, and said that the anti-concurrent cause language in State Farm policies overturns a common law doctrine of property loss causation called “efficient proximate cause.” Again, here is a copy of the decision. A huge win for State Farm, and a victory for clear, concise writing and reasoning without the court’s saying more than it needed to, as another panel of the Fifth Circuit did in the recent appeal in Leonard v. Nationwide.

  8. Anderson

    Coast Boy appears to be correct, from my reading of the op — State Farm will now have to find a case wherein it can persuade the MSSC to hold that the 5th Circuit got its Erie guess wrong.

  9. Beau

    David, I know this isn’t the right place but the decision is out on Sher from the LA Supreme Court. Seems like there are some level headed people down there after all.

  10. Beau, too late. By the time you posted your message it was up on the blog. But thanks for the tip anyway.

  11. Coast Boy

    Now for the Sonny case, er, I mean the Landry case to get answered…..

  12. Jimmy

    Coast Boy, after reading the the ruling I think you hit the nail on the head. Although on the surface it appears the ruling is a slam dunk for State Farm the actual wording/support within the ruling leaves State Farm open to more lawsuits which the jury will have to decide on which expert to believe.