A Federal Court jury in Gulfport rendered a verdict for the Rigsby sisters on Monday in their whistle-blower lawsuit against State Farm Insurance Company. Judge Sul Ozerden presided in the case.

Anita Lee with the Sun Herald has this good article on the verdict. Also look for coverage on the verdict on the Slabbed blog.

The plaintiff’s theory was that State Farm defrauded the federal flood program by paying flood policy limits on a claim where wind was responsible for the loss. The article states:

By charging the National Flood Insurance Program for the loss, State Farm minimized what it owed for wind damage. The company initially paid $36,000 for wind damage on a policy that provided more than $500,000 in coverage. 

The false report was what appeared to be a line-by-line estimate of flood damage to the house, placed in the flood file. The report actually showed the value of construction materials for a generic custom home that varied in some respects from the McIntosh house. Under federal guidelines, participating insurance companies adjust their own wind claims, plus flood claims for NFIP. State Farm no longer participates in the flood program.

I, for one, am not surprised. Head down to the Coast and go to a local watering hole frequented by conservative folks who look like dream jurors for big corporations. Then ask those folks what they think of State Farm. See what they say.

It will be interesting to see the verdict’s ramifications. This seems like a big can of worms for State Farm.

Looks like Jackson attorney Maison Heidelberg with Heidelberg Harmon represented the Rigsby sisters.