LOUISIANA JURY FINDS IN FAVOR OF INSURER IN HURRICANE PROPERTY DAMAGE CASE—TAKE NOTHING VERDICT ENTERED IN FAVOR OF REPUBLIC FIRE AND CASUALTY INSURANCE COMPANY
After a one-week trial in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, a jury recently entered a unanimous verdict that the plaintiff take nothing in its case against Republic Fire and Casualty Insurance Company. In Fred DeFrancesch v. Republic, the plaintiff sought to recover for property damage arising from Hurricane Isaac. The plaintiff demanded $323,656.97 based on an estimate by two engineers, $647,313 in penalties, and $517,851 in costs. Although Republic’s own experts estimated damage of $18,998, Republic declined to pay the claim because this amount was below the deductible.
After Republic concluded its case, it moved for and was granted a judgment as a matter of law dismissing all of plaintiff’s extra-contractual claims, leaving only the breach of contract claim. In less than three hours, the jury returned with a verdict that plaintiff had no damages exceeding the deductible amount. Because plaintiff failed to timely file a motion for new trial or notice of appeal, Judge Susie Morgan will likely enter final judgment in favor of Republic.
[Editor’s Note: Even though this case was tried in Louisiana, it consists of another win for the insurance industry in a hurricane-related dispute and we felt it was worth worthy of reporting from our neighboring state. We congratulate our friends at Republic on this significant victory].
 Fred Defrancesch v. Republic Fire & Casualty Ins. Co., No. 13-5583 (E.D. La. Aug. 1, 2014).