75 new Ike suits storm courthouse in one day

David Yates Jan. 26, 2012, 6:00am

Not unlike the villain in a cheesy horror flick, insurance lawsuits stemming from Hurricane Ike refuse to die, with dozens of new cases storming the Beaumont courthouse in just one day.

On Monday, Jan. 23, plaintiff's attorneys kicked off 2012 with a resounding thud, when postal workers dropped off 75 new Ike suits to be filed in Jefferson County District Court.

Court records show that all but four of the Ike suits were filed by the San Antonio law firm Solis & Smith.

The 71 Solis & Smith lawsuits arrived at the Beaumont in several boxes and required the attention of multiple clerks to unpack and scan.

Ike made landfall on Sept. 13, 2008, and is considered to be one the most costly storms to strike the U.S.

Out of the 2,544 lawsuits filed in Jefferson County in 2011, 655 or 25.7 percent were against insurers over claims made for property damage caused by the hurricane.

With more than 80 Ike suits already filed in January alone, it's a safe bet that 2012's total will eclipse the 2011 mark.

All of the 2012 Ike cases filed name the Texas Windstorm Association as the primary defendant, court records show.

Since insurance companies like Allstate and State Farm stopped providing windstorm coverage along the coast after Hurricane Rita, Gulf Coast residents have no option except to obtain windstorm coverage through TWIA.

The plaintiffs allege TWIA failed to pay for hurricane damage covered by their homeowner's policy.

According to the Solis & Smith website, firm founders Carlos E. Solis and Paul A. Smith Jr. specialize in insurance litigation and also have offices in Houston and Rio Grande Valley.

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