Trial against State Farm begins in Beaumont

David Yates Apr. 24, 2007, 12:00pm

Numerous lawsuits against State Farm Lloyds surfaced after Hurricane Rita whipped through the Golden Triangle. On April 24, one of those suits went to trial.

A Beaumont couple, Hugh and Sharon Stovall, claim State Farm has refused to pay the full amount of their property damage claim the filed following Rita.

According to the plaintiffs' amended petition filed with the Jefferson County District Court, the storm caused roof and foundation damage to the Stovall household. The couple filed their claim and State Farm sent two agents to assess the damage.

In their claim, the Stovalls asked for an undisclosed amount to repair their home and for living expenses.

"State Farm wrongfully denied plaintiffs claim for repairs of the property, even though the policy provided coverage for loses," the suit said, adding that defendant did not bother to provide an explanation for the "inadequate settlement."

The plaintiffs' original petition named the agents as defendants, but the pair was later dropped from the suit.

The couple, represented by Michael Ramsey of the Mostyn Law Firm, is suing for the unpaid claim and court costs. According to its Web site, the Mostyn Firm has a practice area devoted specifically to Hurricane Rita insurance claim disputes.

During the impaneling session, several jurors said they had friends and family members currently intertwined in lawsuits against State Farm.

The Stovalls contend State Farm breached its contract by failing to comply with the Texas Insurance Code, the Prompt Payment of Claims, and its conduct constitutes a breach of the common law duty of good faith and fair dealing.

Judge Bob Wortham, 58th District Court, is presiding over the trial.

Case No. A176-860

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