Monday in federal court, a jury was selected to hear a wind versus water case. It is the first Katrina lawsuit brought against State Farm to go to trial in Mississippi.
Potential jurors spent the day answering questions about their hurricane losses, attitudes toward insurance companies and whether they could keep open minds hearing arguments between a homeowner and State Farm.
The lawsuit was brought by Norman and Genevieve Broussard of Biloxi. Katrina left them nothing but a concrete slab on Brady Drive. State Farm denied their claim saying flood waters wiped out the couple's home, but the Broussards say a tornado destroyed the home before Katrina's surge came in.
Hundreds of other South Mississippians have similar lawsuit pending which is one of the reasons State Farm wanted this trial moved to Oxford. Company attorneys argued it pre-trial publicity would be nearly impossible to find a jurors with open minds.
Judge L.T. Senter disagreed and denied the change of venue request. He said he believed the defendant could get a fair trial in South Mississippi.
Opening arguments are at 10 a.m. Tuesday in Gulfport.
A jury was also selected on Monday for a second wind and water lawsuit against State Farm. Richard Tejeron of Long Beach man is the plaintiff in that case. The judge said since Tejeron and the Broussards are both being represented by the same attorneys, seating both juries at the same time would speed up the process.
The Tejeron trial is scheduled to being January 22nd.