State Farm settles another Katrina case before trial

The Untershine case, one of the Katrina slab cases that was scheduled for trial March 26, has been settled by State Farm and the Untershines’ attorneys.  So says this story from the Associated Press. The amount has not yet been disclosed or leaked.  

Here is a copy of the Pretrial Order from the case. Some of the highlights: The Untershines had two houses, a primary residence and a rental home.  The primary residence was destroyed by flood surge, and the rental was damaged by water.  State Farm denied wind coverage for the destroyed home and appears to have paid no wind damage at all on it, but paid some wind damage for the surviving rental. The rental house had no flood policy, but the policyholders were paid the limits of their flood insurance for the primary residence, more than $100,000.  The Untershines sought damage of $261,222 plus punitive damages of $5 million.  The damages claimed don’t completely make sense to me, so if you feel like rooting around in the pdf of the Pretrial Order and you figure it out, let me know.  

As the AP story said, with a couple cases having gone to trial, there is some information available to the parties to make settlement calculations, and that could lead to yet more settlements, at least where slab cases are concerned.  I don’t know what the amount of the Untershine settlement was, but I know one thing for sure, it was a lot more than the Untershines got from State Farm before they sued.  You wonder what some of the 36,000 policyholders who are being given the option of participating in State Farm’s renewed claims review process think about the value of these cases compared to what they are likely to get in the claims process.

UPDATE: Someone distracted me when I was linking to the Pretrial Order, and on the first try, I linked instead to a U.S. Magistrate’s decision in the District of Oregon on a completely unrelated topic.  The link has been fixed. 

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