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Federal appeals court hears arguments in Katrina-related insurance case

[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit [official website] heard arguments Monday in an appeal by Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company [corporate website] against a lower court ruling [JURIST report] last August which declared unenforceable a provision in Nationwide's policy limiting a Hurricane Katrina's homeowner's recovery when damage to home is caused by both wind and water. Homeowners Paul and Julie Leonard sued Nationwide after receiving only $1,661 when damages to their home were estimated to be more than $130,000. Senior District Judge L.T. Senter Jr. ruled in their favor, but awarded the plaintiffs only an additional $1,228 for wind damage. The ruling was appealed by both the Leonards and National. The Leonards have since dropped their appeal, while National is seeking to reverse the judge's holding declaring the so-called "anticoncurrent causation" provision ambiguous and unenforceable.

In a separate case last week, the Fifth Circuit held [PDF text; JURIST report] that insurance policies owned by many victims of Hurricane Katrina [JURIST news archive] did not cover flood damage caused by the storm. AP has more.

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