New wave of insurance lawsuits strikes Jefferson County

David Yates May 14, 2012, 8:28am


Although insurance lawsuits filed over Hurricane Ike are still pouring in by the dozens, a surge in suits filed over lesser storms has surfaced in the Beaumont courthouse.

So far in 2012, more than 150 Ike related suits have been filed in Jefferson County District Court, a courthouse search revealed.

The majority of the latest Ike lawsuits, brought on behalf of area residents who say insurance companies have failed to pay for hurricane damage covered by their homeowner's policy, were filed by San Antonio attorneys Paul Smith Jr. and Carlos Solis of Solis & Smith.

However, the San Antonio attorneys aren't limiting themselves to representing only Ike plaintiffs.

In the last three months, Solis & Smith has filed approximately 40 lawsuits on behalf of Southeast Texans alleging their insurance provider denied claims for damages caused by wind and hail storms.

While most Ike suits name the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association as the primary defendant, the defendants in the new insurance suits vary from petition to petition.

For example, on May 3 Alejandro and Beatriz Garcia filed suit against Farmers Insurance Exchange, Texas Farmers Insurance and Fire Insurance Exchange, alleging the companies denied their claim for roof and water damages caused to their Port Arthur property after a wind and hail storm struck on June 6.

In April, Larry LaBeaux sued TWIA, alleging it denied his claim for roof and water damages caused to his property after a severe windstorm struck on Aug. 2, 2010.

LaBeaux is represented by Jason B. Speights of Speights and Worrich, another San Antonio law firm.

To date, approximately 200 lawsuits have been filed in Jefferson County against insurance companies over storm damage claims.

Solis & Smith represents individuals and businesses with insurance disputes throughout the State of Texas, according to the firm's website.

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