July 1, 2008

Mississippi Judge Rejects Punitive Damages Claim in Closely Watched Hurricane Katrina Lawsuit Against USAA

Last week a jury awarded $910,000 to a Mississippi couple suing USAA for wrongfully denying their claim for damage to their home caused by Hurricane Katrina. According to the SunHerald's coverage of the case, USAA took the position that the damage was caused by water, which was not covered the the insured's policy. The insureds claimed the damage was caused by wind, which was covered. Describing the impact of the case on other Katrina-related insurance disputes, the plaintiffs' attorney announced, "It's going to help plaintiffs everywhere."

The judge, however, has now dismissed the plaintiffs' punitive damages claim, prompting the plaintiffs to file an emergency motion to hold the jury until the plaintiffs can seek appellate review.

A blog called "Slabbed" has a nice collection of links to the media coverage on this case.