Texas Marine sues insurance company for deceptive trade after Rita

David Yates Apr. 10, 2007, 12:00pm

Texas Marine & Brokerage, Inc. is suing the Federal Insurance Co., and a host of other individuals and companies, for "stringing" Texas Marine along after Hurricane Rita damaged its property.

The plaintiff's petition, filed on April 5 with the Jefferson County District Court, states Texas Marine's business operations were disrupted after the hurricane and that the company suffered damages to its headquarters on Interstate 10 and to its inventory.

After assessing the total damage, the company made a claim with its insurer, Federal Insurance Co.

"However, after being strung along by Federal, and its adjuster Joe Gordon, for almost a year and a half, the vast majority of Texas Marine's damage" still had not been paid, the petition said.

The company has also listed Norman-Spencer McKernan Inc. and Agency, Brian J. Norman, Jennifer Turley and Gordon as defendants in its lawsuit.

The petition also says the plaintiff had acquired insurance from Norman-Spencer McKernan in March 2004.

"Texas Marine received both verbal and written conformation from NSM that the new policy would include both business income and extra expense coverage," the petition states.

However, the insurance company switched coverage without notifying Texas Marine, and did not discover the switch until after the hurricane.

"Federal has refused to pay Texas Marine's claim for loss of business income, claiming that such coverage is not included in the insurance contract that it issued," the lawsuit states.

Federal put a $250,000 cap on the company's claim, the suit said, and "this was obviously a shock to Texas Marine."

The company is alleging Federal, NSM and agents involved engaged in deceptive trade practices, that Federal breached its contract and NSM was negligent for not acquiring the exact policy the company requested.

"Federal and Gordon have merely attempted to manufacture excuses for not fully investigating the claim and paying for the damages, as required by the insurance contract at issue and Texas law," the suit said.

The company is suing for economic and actual damages, exemplary damages, multiple damages, additional damages and all court costs.

Texas Marine is demanding a trial by jury and is represented by attorney Paul Edwardson of the Beaumont law firm Sheldon, Dunham & Edwardson.

Court assignment is pending.

Case No. A179-080

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