On April 13-16, 2010, Tom W. Thornhill participated with the other lead members of the slab committee for the multi-district litigation and class action suits against Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (“TWIA”) to depose TWIA experts on causation issues. The defense of TWIA is that the damages to the homes on Galveston and Bolivar Islands are not covered. TWIA statistically calculated damages in the amount of 11.2% of the losses without looking at the homes based on faulty science which when explored in deposition showed fingerprints of mismanagement that will expose TWIA to punitive damages for bad faith conduct. The law in Texas allows recovery under the provisions of Section 541 & 542 in the Insurance Code and the Deceptive Trade Practices Act. TWIA insurance policy holders are encouraged to take notice of the statutory time period in which to file suit. Texas allows only two years within which to file suit. Thornhill Law Firm has formed a joint venture in Texas to handle these suits named, Thornhill, Shrader & Burdette, PLLC, and can be reached at 1-800-989-2707.
A reality of living on the Gulf Coast is the yearly threat of hurricane season. While many bypass us, the threat of a direct hit requires property owners to plan for the future, whose plans typically involves insurance policies. Insurance companies hold an important role in society, they are the ones we turn to when disaster strikes, as they represent themselves in large-scale advertising campaigns. Their job is to assess the chance of any given peril occurring, and determining a value a policyholder should pay for the right to receive a benefit should the covered event occur. Some perils carry such high rates of risk, private insurers are unwilling to write policies regarding that event. With some exceptions, flood and certain water-related events are typically not covered under an all perils insurance policy, or flood is excluded under an all risks policy.
Rule 403 of the Federal Rules of Evidence states that “although relevant, evidence may be excluded if its probative value is substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice, confusion of the issues, or misleading the jury, or by considerations of undue delay, waste of time, or needless presentation of cumulative evidence.” Fed.R.Evid. 403 (Emphasis added). The application of this rule has been hotly contested in current insurance litigation, with specific regard to the admissibility of videos documenting Hurricane Katrina conditions in a different geographic location from where the property damage at issue in the case occurred.