Nederland woman says Windstorm Association caused her emotional distress

Marilyn Tennissen Jul. 19, 2007, 11:19am

A Nederland woman is taking the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association to court for emotional distress and other damages over her claim for Hurricane Rita damage.

Diane Isaac filed suit against TWIA on July 16 in Jefferson County District Court. She alleges the insurer committed fraud, violated the insurance code and intentionally caused her to suffer emotional distress.

According the plaintiff's original petition, Isaac filed a claim with TWIA in October 2005 for damage to her home on 17th Street in Nederland.

TWIA assigned adjusters to investigate Isaac's claims, and after the investigation "some money was paid to Plaintiff for the damages."

The petition goes on to say that the monies undervalued her claims.

"Other claims were outright denied, even though Defendant knew that the hurricane force winds could, and did, cause more damage than acknowledged," the petition states.

The plaintiff alleges that the investigation was part of a scheme and was "outcome oriented."

Isaac also invoked the appraisal provision of her policy under case law.

"Defendant wrongfully denied the appraisal provision. Defendant in conspiracy with others, conspired to further harass, intimidate and abuse plaintiff by wrongfully filing a declaratory judgment action in Travis County," the suit alleges.

The plaintiff claims the insurance association knew that she was "still suffering from the ravages of Hurricane Rita" and was financially unable to defend the case in Austin.
Defendants "committed this action simply to cause financial burden and hardship on its insured," the suit says.

The plaintiff alleges that TWIA committed breach of contract, violations of the insurance code, the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act, breached its duty of good faith, intentionally inflicted emotional distress, committed fraud, conversion and theft of property, breach of warranty for services and negligent hiring.

In general, the defendant committed "acts so reprehensible, recidivist and with actual knowledge as to warrant the imposition of punitive damages," plaintiff argues.

Hart Green of Weller, Green, Toups & Terrell LLP in Beaumont is representing Isaac.

The case has been assigned to Judge Gary Sanderson of the 60th District Court.

Case No. B179-670

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