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
So far the Democratic agenda includes proposals to expand Medicaid; increase the minimum wage; offer equal pay to women; heighten regulations on predatory lending practices, like payday loans; and add more transparency in the governor’s office.
Hot-button education issues ranging from Common Core to charter schools have some lawmakers pushing to scrap the appointing process and go back to electing the state's super.
Police say the handcuffed man fatally shot himself in the back, but his family isn't buying the story.
Gov. Bobby Jindal offered a budget proposal that suggests new education and health care spending, pay raises for state workers and an incentive fund to encourage colleges to enhance their science, engineering and technology training.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Tuesday, March 11, 2014:
Hopefully he’ll be better prepared today than he was in that Feb. 20 deposition.
They came by the hundreds, arriving from all regions of the state to gather on the steps of our Capitol in protest of the Legislature’s long tradition of giving industry the go-ahead to abuse our air, our water and our coastline, all in the name of good economics.
Gov. Bobby Jindal’s recent rhetoric against President Barack Obama has failed to boost his standing among the conservative base.
Louisiana's annual legislative session begins.
The state has hired marksmen to shoot feral hogs from helicopters at two wildlife management areas in south Louisiana.
The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education has stalled action on a $3.5 billion annual school funding formula due to state lawmakers by March 15.
The New Orleans Saints have yet to make it official as of this writing, but popular wide receiver Lance Moore has reportedly been cut by the team to free up salary-cap space on the roster.
While two medical marijuana bills are slated for the upcoming legislative session, what some Louisianans might not know is that the plant was approved for therapeutic use by state lawmakers in 1991.
The agenda is shaping up to be lighter than in previous years. But Jindal is term-limited, with fewer than two years remaining in office, and he saw his last big initiative — a proposed rewrite of Louisiana tax law — collapse without getting a vote in 2013.
Sharper has been held without bail because of an arrest warrant issued by Louisiana authorities accusing him and another man of raping two women.
Two Lafayette men have been revealed by police as the infamous duo behind a caper that shook our fair city to its core.
The Lafayette Parish School Board has received a second letter of demand related to last year’s insurance debacle, this time from Key Benefit Administrators claiming it’s owed $93,000 from the school system.
The Louisiana coastline is vanishing faster than mappers can keep track.
A bill that would have overridden local ordinances prohibiting public and private employers from discriminating against lesbian, gay and transgender people has been pulled within less than a week of being filed.
The panel that selects nominees for a controversial New Orleans area flood control board — a board that is suing more than 90 oil, gas and pipeline companies — is set to discuss legislation affecting its independence.
State prison officials cannot keep secret the seller and manufacturer of the two drugs purchased for executions at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.
State lawmakers will not appeal a judge's ruling that it was improper to use $3.7 million from a probation and parole officers' retirement fund to balance the state's operating budget.
Conservatives have been losing their minds over this satirical bit on the Colbert Report.
The Lafayette Parish School Board leaves a lot to be desired, but is scrapping the election process in favor of an appointed board the answer?
The House approved legislation Tuesday night to roll back a recently enacted overhaul of the federal flood insurance program, after homeowners in flood-prone areas complained about sharp premium increases.