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Katrina Canal Breach Decision Means More Time to File Suit Against Insurers

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A federal judge’s decision to  dismiss class action allegations against insurers in the Katrina Canal Breaches Consolidated Litigation means that some Hurricane Katrina victims have more time to file lawsuits if they are unhappy with the way a property insurance claim was settled, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported recently.

Last Tuesday in New Orleans, U.S. District Court Judge Stanwood R. Duval Jr. granted a request by insurers to be severed from the consolidated litigation. According to the Times-Picayune, the Judge ruled that disputes against insurers were individual, and not suitable to be handled as part of a class action.  When a class action petition fails to get certified, or  some defendants are severed from the proceedings, individual plaintiffs can file their own lawsuits.

According to the Times-Picayune, the deadline for filing new lawsuits will depend upon the amount of time that remained between when the insurance portion of the levee breach litigation was filed and the original Aug. 30, 2007, deadline for filing suits.

The Katrina canal breach litigation names virtually every insurer operating in Louisiana, the Times-Picayune said.  Typically, insurance does not cover damage to a business or home if it is caused by flood.  But plaintiffs in the Katrina Canal Breaches Consolidated Litigation have argued that flood damage that resulted from levee breaches which occurred after Hurricane Katrina made landfall should be covered by insurance, since such flooding was not specifically excluded by insurance policies.

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