Hurricane Ike trial draws spectators as it enters second week

David Yates Jun. 4, 2012, 8:51am


Jurors charged with determining the outcome of a Hurricane Ike lawsuit heard testimony from an insurance adjuster on Monday.

On Oct. 5, 2009, policyholder Maria Escuadra filed suit against Geovera Specialty Insurance, ICA Adjusters and Jade Saucier in Jefferson County District Court, alleging the defendants denied a portion of her claim for Hurricane Ike damages.

The case went to trial on May 29.

More than a dozen people are attending the trial as spectators, as the verdict could possibly set the tone for the thousands of other Ike cases currently cluttering the Beaumont courthouse.

On June 4 jurors heard testimony from an insurance adjuster who worked on Escuadra's claim.

The adjuster testified that dozens of pictures of the damage to Escuadra's home did not make it into her file and that management of her case was not in accordance with proper claims handling practices.

According to the plaintiff's original petition, Escuadra's Beaumont home was damaged on Sept. 12, 2008, during Hurricane Ike when a tree fell onto her roof, causing the interior of the residence to suffer considerable water damage.

Her insurer Geovera assigned ICA Adjusters and Saucier to investigate and adjust the claim.

"...Geovera wrongfully denied plaintiff's claim for repairs of the property, even though the policy provided coverage for losses such as those suffered by plaintiff," the suit states.

"Furthermore, Geovera underpaid some of plaintiff's claims by not providing full coverage for the damages sustained..."

Escuadra alleges the defendants are guilty of several Texas Insurance Code violations and of violating the Deceptive Trade Practices Act.

She is suing for actual and consequential damages, plus attorney's fees.

Attorney Gregory Cox of the Mostyn Law Firm in Houston represents her.

The defendants are represented in part by Dallas attorney Rhonda Thompson.

Judge Bob Wortham, 58th District Court, is presiding over the trial.

Case No. E185-065

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