HURRICANE IKE UPDATE: FIRST HURRICANE IKE JURY TRIAL STARTED LAST WEEK IN HARRIS COUNTY

December 12, 2011

A jury trial in the case of Malcolm and Mary Battle v. Cypress Texas Lloydsl began last week in Judge Steven Kirkland’s courtroom in the 215th District Court in Harris County.  This is the first Hurricane Ike case to start trial in Harris County.  Plaintiffs are represented by Amber Mostyn of the Mostyn Law Firm and  Randy  Cashiola  from  Beaumont.   Defendant  Cypress  Texas  Lloyds  is  represented  by  attorney Thomas Fountain and Defendants Crawford & Company and Sean Haley are represented by attorneys John Ramirez and Jason Bath.

Plaintiffs generally allege that winds during Hurricane Ike created multiple openings in the roof of their home allowing rain intrusion and resulting water damage in the attic and interior of the house.  Plaintiffs also allege damages to windows, fencing, and attic rafters.   Plaintiffs assert causes of action for breach of the insurance contract, unfair insurance practices, violations of the Texas Insurance Code, breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing, fraud by nondisclosure and conspiracy to commit fraud.

Jury selection occurred on Monday December 5, 2011 and opening arguments began on Tuesday, December 6, 2011.  Plaintiffs have called three witnesses to the stand thus far including adjuster Sean Haley, a corporate representative of Crawford and Company, and Plaintiffs’ engineering expert, Gregory Becker.  Cross-examination of Becker is scheduled to begin today.   Defendants are expected to begin presentation of their case by mid-week.

Editor’s Note: Although our firm is not involved in this trial, we are monitoring the daily testimony and arguments from the courtroom.  If any carrier wishes to receive either a daily summary of the trial developments or a daily transcript from the court reporter, please call or email Chris Martin of our office.