In a nutshell, Judge Senter allowed the claims to go to the jury with no directed verdict this time. The jury awarded $66,000 in wind damage: $39,464 for the structure, and about $26,770 for the contents. The figures represented 47 percent of the structural damage Ed Gemmill could have received, and 25 percent of the contents coverage. State Farm argued the issue of punitive damages shouldn’t go to the jury, but Senter said the jury sounded pretty reasonable and they should decide this too.
While the jury was deliberating punitive damages, the sides reached an undisclosed settlement on punitives. I’m thinking the price of the settlement was fairly steep, not as much as the $2.5 million awarded in the Broussard case, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it was just south of the $1 million the Broussard verdict was eventually knocked down to by Judge Senter.
Here’s a story from the Sun Herald on these developments.
Here’s another from the Associated Press, written before the puntive settlement.
I’ll update more later, but thanks so much to all my friends who e-mailed me to let me know about the verdict.