Biloxi Council Member Sues State Farm - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Biloxi Council Member Sues State Farm

"Poorly Worded." That's how a State Farm corporate representative described a letter in which the company acknowledges there was wind damage to the home of a Biloxi city council member. Christy Greer was one of several witnesses to testify in day two of council member Ed Gemmill's lawsuit against State Farm.

Gemmill is suing State Farm for refusing to pay part of his insurance claim based on the water exclusion.

Only a slab is left of what Gemmill calls his American Dream. He says after Hurricane Katrina, he spent hours making his way to his Biloxi home.

Gemmill told a federal jury, "We parked two miles away and by the time we went a block, I realized the house was gone."

State Farm paid Gemmill $128,100, the full amount of his federal flood insurance policy. Gemmill believes his homeowner's insurance should pay $89,000, the difference between what the flood policy paid and the home's value. Gemmill is also suing for $107,000 for contents, and $5 million in punitive damages.

Neighbor William Prince testified he saw the roof blow off the Gemmill house around 5:45 a.m. on August 29th and long before the water arrived.

State Farm's attorney tried to downplay Prince's account of the storm saying it would have been dark along Waters View Drive.

An independent adjuster hired by State Farm to inspect the Gemmill property told the jury he saw no evidence of wind damage, and was never given contact information for any witnesses. Doyse McReynolds also said he requested State Farm hire an engineer, but that didn't happen.

Testimony continues on Wednesday.

by Danielle Thomas

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