Last week, U.S. District Judge Richard Haik of Lafayette issued the first ruling on one of the most disputed insurance issues to arise out of last year's hurricane season: whether or not homeowners with only wind-storm insurance coverage could make claims on property damaged by flooding during a hurricane.
Haik ruled that homeowners without flood-specific insurance are not entitled to flood damage claims.
"You get what you pay for," Haik was quoted saying in The Advocate. "And what they paid for was wind damage."
Haik added, "I wish I didn't think that. I am not a fan of insurance companies."
The suit, filed by two families against State Farm and Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance, was seeking class action status for all homeowners with similar insurance disputes stemming from Hurricane Rita. The plaintiffs are still deciding whether or not they will appeal the decision. A similar case of disputed insurance claims, filed by victims of Hurricane Katrina, is set for a hearing in New Orleans next month. ' Nathan Stubbs
JUST WHEN YOU THOUGHT THE TIMES OF ACADIANA COULDN'T SINK ANY LOWER â?¦
Hurricane Katrina and the flood after the levees broke killed more than 1,500 people. Half of New Orleans' residents are still displaced and many will never return. Basic services such as electricity and gas are still out in large portions of the Crescent City.
To The Times of Acadiana, this tragedy that has changed New Orleans and Louisiana forever is the equivalent of â?¦ missing a television show. In case you missed this unfathomably ignorant, callous and stupid piece of "journalism," here's the opening passage from The Times' cover story last week:
"It's 6:50 p.m. Tuesday night, and you're stuck in traffic on Johnston Street. You'll never make it home in time, and you didn't set the VCR â?¦ You're going to miss American Idol. This is more devastating than, well, the damage left behind from Hurricane Katrina. Or so you think." ' Scott Jordan
HENKE RUNNING FOR INSURANCE COMMISSIONER
With a host of issues brewing from last hurricane season, Louisiana's next insurance commissioner will have his or her work cut out for them. Last week, former Lafayette School Board President DeAnne Henke announced she's ready for the task, citing the motivation of watching her grandparents jump through insurance claim hoops after their South Texas home was destroyed by Hurricane Celia in 1970.
Henke has spent the past two years working with a financial investment firm and as a lobbyist for Washington Matters, a firm set up by former Congressman Jimmy Hayes. The special election for insurance commissioner is scheduled for September. Current Commissioner Jim Donelon and State Rep. James David Cain of Dry Creek also have announced they will run for the seat. ' NS
THANKS FOR NOTHING, DOLLAR BILL
At a crucial time when the state is desperately fighting for federal hurricane recovery funds and combating a national perception of political corruption in Louisiana, New Orleans Rep. William Jefferson has given Louisiana opponents a huge stockpile of fresh ammunition.
According to The Times-Picayune, an FBI affidavit released last weekend in the midst of an ongoing House ethics investigation of Jefferson details a videotaped July 2005 meeting where Jefferson took $100,000 in cash from a potential investor in a West African telecommunications company. The affidavit also alleges that Jefferson tried to funnel money into a separate company for his children, and notes the FBI's discovery of "at least seven other schemes in which Jefferson sought things of value in return for his official acts."
Jefferson has professed his innocence and said he will not resign. But the latest allegations are so damning and distracting that Jefferson should step down and fight the charges on his own time and dime, instead of while he's collecting a taxpayer-funded salary. ' SJ
A TALE OF TWO PLANS
One issue in the upcoming governor's race is starting to surface. Around the same time Gov. Kathleen Blanco released her emergency evacuation plan and corresponding maps for southeast Louisiana, Congressman Bobby Jindal issued his own 10-point plan to reform emergency response. Democrat Blanco and Republican Jindal are expected to face off again in next year's gubernatorial contest. Jindal's plan calls for eliminating fraud, streamlining communications and establishing a long-term recovery office for Louisiana. Both efforts arrive as the House Homeland Security and Transportation and Infrastructure Committees passed a bill to strengthen the government's response to catastrophic disasters by reforming the Federal Emergency Management Agency ' and a few of Jindal's action points are included in the national legislation. ' Jeremy Alford
NO MORE FREE TIX FOR IBERIA PARISH POLS
Freebies may be a thing of the past for local politicians at events held at the SugArena Acadiana Fairgrounds in Iberia Parish. Newly elected SugArena board member Ryan DorÃ© insisted in an emergency meeting in April, reported last week in The Daily Iberian, that the practice of doling out over a dozen tickets each to "higher-ups" in Iberia Parish Government "wasn't going to fly" anymore. Some government officials requested tickets to the April Hot Sauce Festival in exchange for groundskeeping work at the parish-owned, state-funded facility. "First off, that's their job (to clean the grounds). And it just seemed like they wanted free tickets in payment of getting work done," DorÃ© says. "I'm not on the commission just to make the politicians happy." ' Mary Tutwiler
The Lafayette City-Parish Council on Tuesday will vote on a resolution that if approved would clear the way for a December ballot proposition asking voters to approve a 1-cent sales tax parishwide to help fund the construction of a new terminal at Lafayette Regional Airport.
Just days before the fourth anniversary of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster and oil spill, the Coast Guard has moved cleanup of Louisiana's coast to a new phase, allowing BP to end its "active" efforts in the area.
Legislators still must leave their guns at the door of the Louisiana Capitol.
Sen. Fred Mills may have an "R" behind his name, but his actions in the Louisiana Legislature transcend the established boundaries of his party.
The Louisiana House overwhelmingly rejected a repeal of the state's unconstitutional anti-sodomy law Tuesday.
The Louisiana Senate sided with Gov. Bobby Jindal and the oil industry Tuesday, agreeing to void a lawsuit that a south Louisiana flood board filed against more than 90 oil and gas companies for coastal damage.
Wednesday's Blogs from the Bog!
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Wednesday, April 16, 2014:
Acadian rep notifies would-be supporters that an April 25 fundraiser for the embattled U.S. rep won’t go on as planned.
While it isn’t all too unusual for public bodies to have hired security present during meetings, the LPSB’s push to do so is arguably a response to the antics of one board member.
“I’m running. Why would I be raising all this money? Just to have to return it to people?”
With incumbent U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu watching from afar, and with a united Democratic Party in her corner, the fight to get the GOP officially behind Congressman Bill Cassidy is gaining just as much momentum as it is hushed controversy.
15th Judicial District Judge Durwood Conque has announced that he will not seek re-election after 27 years on the bench.
The controversial standardized tests are set to be used in third-grade through eighth-grade public school classrooms next year.
The Louisiana Senate has agreed to prohibit unmanned aircraft from flying over chemical plants, water treatment systems, telecommunications networks and other items considered "critical infrastructure" in Louisiana.
It didn’t take long for KATC TV 3 to jump all over the news of a dead body found in Girard Park, but in its rush to produce headlines, the local TV station got sloppy.
An unholy trinity of civil-society upheavalers whose first names are not Conner, Tanner or Logan are facing charges in Eunice.
Now that lawmakers have shot down efforts to cap annual interest rates for payday loans, supporters for stricter regulations of the storefront lenders are rallying behind another strategy.
The Appropriations Committee held public testimony day, letting people talk about what they like or don't like about Gov. Bobby Jindal's budget recommendations for the 2014-15 fiscal year that begins July 1.
Lafayette police are investigating the death of a 21-year-old woman whose body was found early Sunday in a drainage ditch in Girard Park.
Former Grant parish District Attorney Ed Tarpley says he's running for the U.S. House seat currently held by Republican Vance McAllister of Swartz.
Louisiana-Lafayette got strong starting pitching and timely hitting to hold off Arkansas-Little Rock 6-3 in Sun Belt Conference baseball in Lafayette, La.
Chris Williams knows how to pilfer from the public coffers, this time with a back-pay lawsuit filed three years ago against the Lafayette Housing Authority, which netted the former city-parish councilman a cool five figures.
McAllister's office vowed that he intended to stay in office — for now. As for questions about whether he would stand for re-election in November, those were dodged.
The Green Army's Lafayette brigade has announced it will pay a visit Friday morning to Sen. Page Cortez to urge him to vote against Sen. Robert Adley's SB 553, which the group is calling the "Big Oil Bailout Bill of 2014."