Fifth Circuit Upholds $502K Award for Louisiana Church in Hurricane Laura Damage Suit

January 25, 2024

The United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals earlier this month upheld a 2022 decision against Church Mutual Insurance Co. in favor of Sugartown United Pentecostal Church in Dry Creek, Louisiana, which sits about 50 miles northeast of Lake Charles. The rural church sustained serious property damage when Hurricane Laura struck in August 2020.

The jury in the initial trial returned a verdict of nearly $224,000 on top of the amount it received from the first storm-damage claim. In addition, the jury found that Church Mutual acted arbitrarily, capriciously and without probable cause when it returned such a low payment in light of the severe damage, which meant an automatic 50 percent penalty under Louisiana law. The appeal upholds that $502,172.16 award.

The Fifth Circuit affirmed the jury’s award in a Jan. 5 judgment.

“Sugartown got less than $4,200 from Church Mutual in their storm-damage claim despite the fact that the hurricane caused more than $200,000 in damages,” said Nishi Kothari of Brasher Law Firm. “Knowing that, we were happy to take on their case, and we were especially pleased with the court’s decision.”

Source: Brasher Law Firm

Topics Lawsuits Catastrophe Natural Disasters Louisiana Hurricane Church

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