Another Hurricane Rita insurance trial gets nixed

David Yates Feb. 3, 2009, 7:52am

David Starnes

In four years, three hurricanes have whipped through the Golden Triangle area, leading to thousands of lawsuits by property owners who claim they were short changed by their insurance companies.

However, only one of those filings has made it to trial. The last Hurricane Rita case tried was on April 21 in the 136th District Court.

Another case over a homeowner's insurance claim for damages from 2005's hurricane case was set to go to trial on Feb. 3, but was nixed before summoned jurors could step foot in court.

The trial of David Scott vs. Braud, Vaughn & Williamson Insurance Agency et al has been reset for April 17.

Scott sued the insurance provider, along with one of its agents, in November 2006, for allegedly failing to secure a policy on his Nederland rental property.

If the case had gone to trial, it would have been the first Hurricane Rita suit to be tried in Jefferson County.

As the Record reported in April 2007, the first Rita case was set for trial and in the process of voir dire when it was abruptly reset.

In that case, a Beaumont couple, Hugh and Sharon Stovall, claimed State Farm has refused to pay the full amount of their property damage claim they filed following Rita.

The case never went to trial.

According to Scott's suit, filed Nov. 6, 2006 in Jefferson County District Court, he owns several rental properties in Southeast Texas. He purchased an insurance policy on the Nederland property through defendant Barbara Mowers on Dec. 22, 2004.

After Hurricane Rita hit on Sept. 23, 2005, he submitted a claim and was informed that he did not have windstorm coverage on the Nederland property.

"Plaintiff believed the property to be protected against the loss caused by Hurricane Rita," the suit says. "Defendants' failure to obtain the requested insurance coverage and failure to notify plaintiff of the absence of … coverage creates standing for … this cause of action."

Scott alleges the defendants breached their contract and acre guilty of Deceptive Trade Practices.

When and if the trial resumes, Scott will ask jurors to award him actual and consequential damages, plus all court costs.

He is represented by Beaumont attorney David Starnes.

The defendants are represented by attorney Rick Oldenettel.

Case No. E178-086

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