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On August 11, 2009, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a jury verdict for damages to a grocery store chain sustained during Hurricane Katrina. The June 2008 verdict amount was $21.6 million and the stores were Robert Fresh Markets, which also received an additional one million dollars in bad-faith damages.

The case had been originally filed in August 2006 against United Fire and Casualty Insurance Co., an Iowa-based company. The plaintiff was Marketfare Annunciation L.L.C. based in New Orleans and owned by Marc Robert II. Five stores in the chain had been severely damaged by rainwater that entered the buildings through roof holes caused by Katrina.

United Fire claimed that damage should be covered by Robert’s own insurance policy, since he owned the chain of stores. United Fire made some of the payments but disputed the total amount on the basis that the store damage was related to post-Katrina flooding. They claimed that they were not liable for those amounts, as the policy did not cover flooding after the storm, and they appealed the jury award.

However, the three-judge panel in New Orleans upheld the verdict amount. Their opinion stated, among other things, that “…there was ample evidence to support bad-faith penalties.”

Neither that plaintiff nor the defendant has made any comment on this ruling.

If your insurance company fails to pay your hurricane insurance benefits, you can file a claim against that company. To learn more about your legal options, please contact our bad faith insurance lawyers today for a free consultation.

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