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Federal judge denies class action status in Mississippi State Farm Katrina lawsuits

[JURIST] US District Judge L.T. Senter, Jr. refused to certify [opinion, PDF] a class in a suit against State Farm Insurance [corporate website] brought by policyholders whose claims were rejected following Hurricane Katrina [JURIST news archive]. The "slab case" plaintiffs, whose homes were reduced to slabs by the hurricane, had sought to bring a class action against State Farm due to the similar nature of their claims. Senter, however, wrote that the three other cases against State Farm [JURIST news archive] have demonstrated that factual differences between the policyholders' claims requires individual treatment of each case.

Senter has supported a court-supervised mediation program which has led to the payment of numerous settlements [JURIST report] by State Farm. 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]. AP has more.

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