Closing Arguments Set For Katrina Slab Case

The plaintiffs rested their case first thing Wednesday morning in the Hurricane Katrina slab case. Soon afterwards, attorneys for State Farm asked the judge to throw out parts of the lawsuit brought by Norman and Genevieve Broussard.

The defense moved for the punitive damages and the contents portions of the suit to be thrown out, as well as expert testimony given Tuesday on the Broussards.

The judge, however, denied all those defense motions.

Curt Gerley, a civil and coastal engineering professor from the University of Florida, then took the stand as an expert witness for the defense.

Gerley testified storm surge was the cause behind the destruction of the Broussard's home. According to testimony, Gerley based his conclusion on research gathered from studying aerial photographs of 308 homes in the vicinity of the Broussards' house.

He says 75 percent of those homes had between none and 35 percent roof damage. Gerley also testified peak winds were not enough to have destroyed the home and there is a high probability that storm surge is responsible for the home's destruction.

However, Gerley did also admit there is the possibility of what he called superficial effects from the wind before the water arrived.

The Broussards testified Tuesday a tornado destroyed their Biloxi home of nearly 40 years, not Katrina's huge storm surge.

State Farm attorneys called two experts to the stand to testify on Wednesday. Both were engineers, one with expertise in wind's affect on residential structures, the other with a specialty in water dynamics.

The two experts testified that based on their analysis the Broussard house was destroyed by storm surge and waves, but that there was likelihood it had some shingle damage before the water arrived. The defense then rested its case and for a second time that day requested the judge dismiss portions of the lawsuit.

Judge L.T Senter is expected to rule Thursday morning on a motion by State Farm attorneys to dismiss the contents and punitive damages portions of the case brought by Norman and Genevieve Broussard of Biloxi.

Defense attorneys say there has been no proof that the company acted in "bad faith" when denying the claim.

Closing arguments are set to being at 10 a.m., then the case will be in the hands of the jury.