BEAUMONT - In October 2014, a jury found in favor of plaintiffs Rene Lampson and Justina Henriquez, levying a $400,000 verdict against National Security Fire & Casualty for failing to properly reimburse the Port Arthur residents following Hurricane Ike.
Jurors also doled out a separate award of $1.2 in exemplary damages, which was wiped by the trial court.
On Oct. 20, the Ninth Court of Appeals upheld the judgment, ensuring more then half of the award would go to the Mostyn Law Firm, which represents the plaintiffs, court records show.
National Security filed for a rehearing, which was denied on Nov. 9, court records show.
However, on Dec. 1 the Ninth Court withdrew their previous opinion and substituted a new one that, once again, affirmed the lower court’s judgment.
Through Mostyn Law attorney Gregory Cox, Lampson and Henriquez filed suit against National Security and Renee Snellgrove on Sept. 3, 2010, in Jefferson County District Court, alleging the defendants wrongfully denied the couple’s property damage claim after Hurricane Ike ravaged their Port Arthur home in 2008.
Jurors found National Security knowingly failed to honor the terms of its insurance policy with Lampson and Henriquez, awarding the couple more than $166,000 in damages and finding the Mostyn Law Firm was entitled to $237,000 in attorney’s fees.
On appeal, National challenged:
- Lampson’s standing to sue;
- Lampson’s alleged lack of full ownership of the subject property;
- The trial court’s admission of expert testimony over National’s objection;
- The trial court’s refusal to include a jury instruction on spoliation;
- The legal and factual sufficiency of the damages verdict;
- The trial court’s alleged failure to require appellees to elect a remedy; and
- The award of attorney’s fees to appellees.
As they did in their previous opinion, justices concluded the evidence was sufficient to support the attorney fees award.
Robert Killeen Jr., an attorney for the Houston law firm Killen & Stern, represents National.
Cox’s firm, the Mostyn Law Firm, has reaped hundreds of millions from suits filed against insurers after Ike pummeled Southeast Texas.
Judge Milton Shuffield, 136th District Court, presided over the trial.
Trial court case No. D187-954
Appeals case No. 09-15-00299-CV