Plaintiff gives emotional testimony in Hurricane Ike trial

By David Yates | Nov 17, 2014

A plaintiff claiming his insurer failed to restore his home following Hurricane Ike in 2008 wept on the stand Monday morning, telling jurors he hopes no one will ever have to go through what he went through.

Plaintiff Preston Thibodeaux filed suit against National Lloyds Insurance Co. on Jan. 29, 2010, in Jefferson County District Court, alleging the company did not fully compensate him for damages caused by the storm.

The case went to trial on Nov. 12, following a mistrial three weeks ago.

“I’m not the same person – this changes my life, turned my life upside down,” Thibodeaux testified. “I want my house fixed. I don’t want nobody to go through what I did.”

With tears in his eyes, Thibodeaux told jurors he’s a disabled veteran and doesn’t have the means to restore his home on his own. He told them he didn’t want to hire an attorney but fears he will end up on the street if the legal action fails.

“I believe in people,” Thibodeaux said. “Some people have compassion and understanding. This hurt me so bad.”

According to a courthouse official, the previous trial ended in a mistrial after Thibodeaux continued to testify that his policy claim was denied due to racial bias.

The defense had successfully objected to his testimony but Thibodeaux continued to cite allegations of racism, prompting the defense to then call for a mistrial.

Thibodeaux claims hurricane winds damaged the roof of his Jefferson County home, causing the residence to suffer water damage.

He testified that his home was so damaged he had trouble getting around in the residence.

A chart of his damages shown to the jury shows he believes he’s entitled to more than $200,000 in damages.

In April 2012, the case was transferred to a multidistrict litigation panel in the 11th District of Harris County prior to being remanded back to Beaumont for trial in October.

Judge Milton Shuffield, 136th District Court, is presiding over the trial.

Case No. D185-838

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