Jury rules for couple in hurricane insurance case

Published 10:18 am Sunday, May 22, 2022

The first residential jury trial in state court has ended with a victory for the Lake Charles homeowners who sued their insurance company.

Charles and Tammy Guillory sued Louisiana Farm Bureau, citing the insurer acted in bad faith when it delayed its contractual obligations to the policyholders.

“Their insurance company paid them the full policy limit on their damaged home after Hurricane Laura, but they paid it late beyond the 30-day deadline according to Louisiana law,” attorney Michael Cox said.

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Cox, who represented the Guillorys along with lead counsel Somer Brown, said he expects the judgment to be about $600,000 — 40 times what the Guillorys were offered before the two-day trial began.

“We hope this sends a powerful message to the insurance companies that they have to follow Louisiana law and pay the claims accordingly,” Cox said.

Cox said homeowners who continue to wait for payouts from their insurance companies following Laura’s devastation should “absolutely go speak to an attorney.”

The deadline to file is Aug. 27; after that “they won’t have a right to file a claim for their insurance,” Cox said.

Retired 3rd Court of Appeal Chief Judge Gene Thibodeaux was an observer for the trial and said the verdict should serve as a signal to insurance companies that they “must play by the rules. It’s that simple.”

“Many folks are frustrated and feel powerless against these insurance companies and this shows that they don’t have to be,” Thibodeaux said.