STATE FARM WINS HURRICANE DOLLY TRIAL IN THE VALLEY
A jury in federal court in Brownsville spent portions of the last two weeks trying a Hurricane Dolly case involving State Farm. The Mostyn Firm tried a residential property damage claim arising from Hurricane Dolly and involving issues of "lifted shingles" in a breach of contract case to a 5 man/ 1 woman jury in Brownsville federal court. The jury returned its verdict on April 16 in the case of Oscar and Irma Salinas vs. State Farm Lloyds.
Greg Cox of the Mostyn Law Firm and Gilbert Hinojosa of the Hinojosa Firm represented the plaintiffs at trial. David Stephens of Lindow, Stephens & Treat and Rene Oliveria of Roerig, Oliveira & Fisher represented State Farm at trial. State Farm made a substantial offer of judgment early in the case. The Mostyn Firm rejected the offer but attempted to revive the offer after Judge Hilda Tagle struck Plaintiffs' extra-contractual causes of action before trial.
Loss Solutions' Jim Wesselski gave expert testimony for the plaintiffs at trial contending that strong winds from Hurricane Dolly and a "A-1" policy required the complete "gutting" and re-sheetrocking of the entire house which he alleged had interior damage from water intrusion due to lifted shingles. The claim was adjusted timely by State Farm and the observed damage was found to be below the deductible. Plaintiffs asked for substantial sums in contract damages for the allegedly needed repairs which they claimed were extensive. The jury found State Farm failed to comply with the policy but it only awarded $5,000 in damages - far less than Plaintiffs sought in damages and several times less than the offer of judgment State Farm made early in the case. Significantly, the jury also found Plaintiffs failed to substantially comply with their duties under the policy and such failures prejudiced State Farm's ability to investigate and pay for any loss caused solely by Dolly. In addition to the failure of the plaintiffs to comply with the conditions precedent in the policy, the jury found certain policy exclusions applied as well.
As of press time, a final judgment had not been issued. Congratulations to State Farm and its trial team on this victory in The Valley.