U.S. News

Jury Levies $2.8 Million in Damages Against Allstate in Katrina Case

Allstate Insurance must pay a Louisiana man who lost his home to Hurricane Katrina more than $2.8 million in damages and penalties, a federal jury decided Monday in a case that hinged largely on whether it was Katrina's winds or storm surge that wiped out his house.

The jury found that Allstate did not pay Robert Weiss enough money to cover wind damage to his home. The verdict includes a $1.5 million penalty for the company's failure to pay damages quickly enough.

Allstate's lawyer argued in closing arguments that the winds that hit Weiss' home were not strong enough to do the damage. She said Weiss already had received more than $400,000 in insurance payments -- including $350,000 in federal flood insurance.

"Have you really seen any proof that the damages were in the million dollar range?" Judy Barrasso asked the jury.

The lawyer for Weiss, whose home was northeast of New Orleans on the north shoreof Lake Pontchartrain, told the jury in closing arguments that Weiss' house was too high above sea level to have been destroyed by Katrina's storm surge.