State Farm appeals Katrina-related whistleblower lawsuit ruling

State Farm Fire and Casualty Co. has asked a judge to void a jury’s finding that the company defrauded the government involving a policyholder claim after Hurricane Katrina.

Motions filed in U.S. District Court in Gulfport also seek a new trial

The verdict came in April in a whistleblower lawsuit against the Illinois- based insurer.

The lawsuit was filed in 2006 by Cori and Kerri Rigsby of Ocean Springs, who worked for an Alabama contractor hired by State Farm to provide damage assessments after the August 2005 hurricane.

The jury found State Farm avoided covering a policyholder’s wind losses by blaming damage on storm surge, which is covered by federal flood insurance.

State Farm was ordered to repay $250,000 to the government. Other damages are to be determined.

AP
5/11/13