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State Farm seeks to remove judge from Katrina class action lawsuit

[JURIST] State Farm Insurance [corporate website] filed papers on Thursday to have US District Court Judge L.T. Senter, Jr. [district website; JURIST news archive] recused from certifying a class action lawsuit against the company over Hurricane Katrina damages. The insurer questioned Senter's impartiality as fellow judge John Roper and Terri Brown, a federal court clerk, could be plaintiffs in the class action suit. Senter has already disqualified himself from hearing individual lawsuits involving the two co-workers. Senter, who has not yet ruled on the insurer's recusal motion, is scheduled to hear arguments concerning the State Farm class action bid on Wednesday. AP has more.

In January, a Mississippi jury held State Farm liable for $2.5 million dollars in punitive damages [JURIST report] for rejecting a Katrina claim that State Farm said was due to wind before the storm rather than the hurricane itself. In the same month, State Farm agreed to settle with hundreds of Mississippi homeowners, but Senter rejected the proposed settlement [JURIST reports].

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