Galveston courts to start hearing Ike suits in January

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Jun. 30, 2010, 7:54am

Storm surge from Hurricane Ike washes over memorial to the 8,000 victims of the hurricane in 1900 that prompted the building of the seawall.

GALVESTON - Almost two years have passed since Hurricane Ike visited the upper Texas coast, yet Galveston County courts are still experiencing the Category 2 storm's effects.

While numerous homeowners and businesses continue to file suits against their insurance carriers for lack of payment on hurricane claims, a date has been set to start hearing the 1,500 cases.

Five state district court judges will take on the Ike-related beginning Jan. 3. The suits will be allotted the same two-week period as other civil complaints.

Meanwhile, county court officials are preparing for almost 7,000 new storm-related suits that could be filed within the next six months.

A June 7 article in the Galveston County Daily News reports that figure is about three-times the normal number of civil cases filed in Galveston County each year, and the Galveston County District Clerk's Office plans to increase its manpower in anticipation.

The first deadline for filing a lawsuit relating to storm damage is Sept. 13, the second anniversary of Ike's landfall.

Galveston County 212th District Court Judge Susan Criss told The Daily News last week that storm litigation will not affect criminal dockets.

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