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1st La. federal insurance trial to start

Feb 12, 2007 | AP

Jury selection is set to start today in the first trial for one of the several thousand lawsuits that Louisiana homeowners filed against their insurers in federal court after Hurricane Katrina.

In their lawsuit against Allstate Indemnity Co., Lawrence Tomlinson and his wife, Elizabeth, accused the Northbrook, Ill.-based company of bad faith for allegedly failing to properly or promptly adjust their claim. The couple also claims the company underpaid them for wind damage.

Allstate, in turn, disputes the extent of the wind damage to the Tomlinsons' home in Marrero and accuses the couple of misrepresenting parts of their claim.

Tulane Law School professor Ed Sherman said a victory for the Tomlinsons could embolden other homeowners to sue their insurers, but he downplayed the possible legal implications for the roughly 4,000 other Katrina lawsuits awaiting trials here in federal court.

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