$2.8 million verdict against Allstate in Katrina case

April 16, 2007
Reported by Associated Press

A federal jury says Allstate Insurance Company must pay a Louisiana man who lost his home to Hurricane Katrina more than 2.8 million dollars in damages and penalties.  Today's decision came in a case that hinged largely on whether it was Katrina's winds or storm surge that wiped out his house.

The jury found that Allstate did not pay Robert Weiss enough money to cover wind damage to his home.  And the verdict includes a 1.5 million dollar penalty for the company's failure to pay damages quickly enough.

Allstate Insurance Company's lawyer said in closing arguments that the winds that hit Weiss' home were not strong enough to do the damage.  She says Weiss already had received more than 400,000 dollars in insurance payments - including 350,000 dollars in federal flood insurance.

The lawyer for Weiss, whose home was northeast of New Orleans on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain, told the jury in closing arguments that Weiss' house was too high above sea level to have been destroyed by Katrina's storm surge.