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
Business organizations opposed the proposal, saying it would lead to job losses and higher prices for goods and services.
An attempt to repeal a six-year-old law that permits public school science teachers to use material outside a classroom's adopted textbook has been rejected by the Senate Education Committee.
New York Times poll shows Obama, Jindal have identical approval and disapproval ratings in the state.
OK, so they’re bentgrass, the type used on golf course greens. But grass is grass.
The Senate Finance Committee approved the bill Wednesday, despite opponents who argued it would shut down the storefront lenders.
A measure to allow the state to implement its own, less stringent plan for limiting carbon dioxide emissions unanimously passed the Senate.
FDA to regulate e-cigarettes, Jodie Foster gets married, Vermont to require labels on genetically-modified food, and more news for today, April 24, 2014.
Thursday's Blogs from the Bog!
A push to expand Louisiana's Medicaid program as allowed under the federal health care has been overwhelmingly rejected by the Senate health committee.
Louisiana welfare recipients would be prohibited in state law from spending the federal assistance at lingerie shops, tattoo parlors, nail salons and jewelry stores, under a bill that received the support Wednesday of a House committee.
Senators will consider whether to prohibit private businesses in Louisiana from paying unequal wages to employees of different genders for the same job.
Rep. Joel Robideaux has delayed bill hearings and said unless a compromise can be reached, he won't bring up the legislation this session.
Once again, Lafayette Parish School Board President Hunter Beasley is focused on an issue that has nothing to do with the educational well-being of our public school children.
After exhausting his appeals all the way to the state Supreme Court, the owner of the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete has no legal remedy left save one: do an end run around the high court via a bill that would grandfather his “right” to keep a 550-pound tiger enclosed in a pin at his roadside business.
Louisiana poet Darrell Bourque has won the 2014 Louisiana Writer Award, given annually to recognize outstanding contributions to Louisiana's literary and intellectual life.
Drivers would have to secure dogs riding in truck beds while on interstate highways, if the Senate agrees to a bill backed by the House.
An effort to prohibit employers from discriminating based on sexual orientation or gender identity was shelved Tuesday for the legislative session.
Louisiana won't lessen its penalties for marijuana possession, keeping laws on the books that allow people to be jailed up to 20 years for repeat offenses of having the drug in hand.
“This is one of the oldest divides that exists, and that divide is about the haves and the have-nots.”
It took a few weeks for the pitfalls to emerge in the governor’s $25 billion budget, but the time of judgment has finally arrived.
With pressure continuing to build for him to resign, Congressman Vance McAllister announced plans recently to remain secluded during the Easter break, but the Swartz Republican has said he’ll be back on the Hill casting votes and attending committee meetings when the congressional recess ends April 28.
A bid to limit the use of unmanned aircraft on private property in Louisiana stalled Monday in the Louisiana Senate.
A Shreveport lawmaker said Monday he's scrapping his proposal to name the Bible as Louisiana's official state book.
Attorney hopes fellow lawyers will join him in urging the D.A. to step aside and allow a competent, ethical challenger to take over the scandal-ridden office.
An official with the Louisiana Department of Education was arrested on a range of charges Friday after allegedly breaking into a home and brandishing a knife.