Disbarred attorney sues insurer for not fully covering damages to home and business

Kyle Barnett Dec. 13, 2012, 1:33am

GRETNA – A Marrero man is suing two insurance companies for alleged breach of contract after they did not cover damages from a lightning strike to his home and damages caused to a commercial building during a recent hurricane.

Derrick Shepherd filed suit against Swanson Insurance Corporation and Louisiana Citizens property Insurance Corporation in the 24th Judicial District Court on Oct. 26.

Shepherd is a former state senator and attorney who pled guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering in October 2008.

Shepherd claims that he purchased a homeowner's insurance policy from Louisiana Citizens through Swanson Insurance Corporation that was supposed to provide full coverage for the home as long monthly payments were maintained. The plaintiff alleges that his residence was struck by lightning on March 23, 2012 and that before the claim could be settled another storm hit the home causing further damage. Shepherd asserts that Louisiana Citizens approved both claims but penalized him because the homeowner's policy sold to him was less than the legally required replacement cost.

The plaintiff alleges that he approached Swanson about the undervaluation of his insurance policy and the company disagreed with Louisiana Citizens, but recommended that he increase his homeowner's policy to be in compliance, which he claims he did.

Shepherd also claims that when Hurricane Isaac struck South Louisiana on Aug. 29, 2012 an office building he owned that was covered by Louisiana Citizens through Swanson was damaged and again he received a penalty on his claim even though Swanson previously assured him that he had the highest coverage possible. The plaintiff alleges that when he asked Swanson about the discrepancy the company said he would have to sue them.

The defendant is accused of breach of contract, breach of fidelity, willful neglect and negligent misrepresentation.

Damages in the amount of $1,721.30, $2,561.12 and $21,210.98 are sought for a fair and just claims to be paid for damages to both the plaintiff's home and commercial property.

Shepherd is representing himself in the case.

The case has been assigned to Division I Judge Nancy A. Miller.

Case no. 720-570.

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