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Monday, September 23, 2019

Homeowner sues Wright National Flood Insurance, contending Katrina claim denial

By Carol Ostrow | Aug 27, 2015

A New Orleans property owner is suing her insurance company alleging negligence and breach of contract in the aftermath of 2005’s Hurricane Katrina.

Cheryl Mayo Thomas sued Wright National Flood Insurance Co., formerly known as Fidelity National Property and Casualty Insurance Co. or Fidelity National Indemnity Insurance Co., in the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Louisiana on July 13, alleging failure to adhere to its contractual duties when the plaintiff’s home was allegedly devastated in August 2005.

According to the lawsuit, the complainant’s home at 5501 Wilton Drive, New Orleans was severely damaged by the Aug. 29, 2005 storm. The suit states that Thomas had a flood insurance policy through Fidelity covering her property.

The suit states the defendants balked at providing coverage due to delays in the permitting process and other paperwork for the scheduled demolition and rebuilding of the plaintiff’s home according to floodplain guidelines. Thomas had secured contractors to perform the work, but the complaint states that Fidelity denied her claim on July 14, 2014, because they were not sent a “substantial damage letter” prior to obtaining a construction permit.

According to the suit, the Federal Emergency Management Agency reviewed the case Oct. 8, 2014, and instructed the defendant to re-examine the claim, but no response ensued.

Thomas seeks a re-opening and approval of the demolition and the sum of $14,444 from Fidelity for failure to properly handle and disburse funds, as well as pre- and post-judgment interest, attorney’s fees, expenses, and court costs. The plaintiff is represented by Zara Zeringue of Magee, Zeringue & Richardson in Covington.

U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Louisiana Case 2:15-cv-02564-SM-MBN

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