Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Sher case decision handed down

Today the Louisiana Supreme Court handed down a decision stating that the "flood" that occurred as a result of the levee breach is not covered by homeowner's insurance:

The state high court reversed decisions by a state trial court and an appeals court that said the definition of the word "flood" was ambiguous in most all-risk homeowners policies, and by law, the policyholders' interpretation had to be followed.

The high court said the lower courts should have looked at the "plain, ordinary and generally prevailing definition" of the word flood.

"Contrary to the court of appeal's reasoning, this definition (of flood) does not change or depend on whether the event is a natural disaster or a man-made one -- in either case, a large amount of water covers an area that is usually dry," the court opinion said.

Justice Chet Traylor of Winnsboro, in writing the majority decision, went a step further, saying the flooding in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina was not actually caused by man, only aided by human errors.

"The flood was caused by Hurricane Katrina, not by man," Traylor wrote. "The levees did not cause the flood, they, whether through faulty design, faulty construction, or some other reason, failed to prevent the flood."


For some more thoughtful insight, I would direct you to keep your eyes on the Insurance Coverage Law Blog, actually based out of Oregon, but David Rossmiller has done a phenomenal job covering the insurance aspects of cases such as the Sher case. You can read the decision itself here.

The dummies on the nola.com comments section are having a field day, as usual.

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