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8/15/2006

Wind, Water, Lightning Eliminated as Causes of Katrina Damage

Damage by Hurricane KatrinaLeft: The Leonard's home, not damaged by a hurricane

(Pascagoula, MS) A federal judge Tuesday rejected a couple's insurance claim for Hurricane Katrina-related flood damage, while simultaneously disavowing specific claims for wind, water, and lightning damage.

Senior District Judge L.T. Senter Jr. said the insurance policy of plaintiffs Paul and Julie Leonard of Pascagoula, Mississippi was for "hurricane damge."

"Look - the total destruction of the Leonard's home was by wind, water, and flying chunks of concrete and steel," he said, holding up the photos. "The plaintiffs have failed to show that a hurricane - specifically Hurricane Katrina - caused this damage."

Lagal briefs with attached cashLeft: Expertly-prepared legal briefs made the difference in the case

Attorneys for Nationwide Mutual Insurance applauded the move.

"It is clear that Judge Senter has acted with due concern for the stability of the nation's insurance companies," said Joe Case, a spokesman for Nationwide, as he handed Senter a plump envelope. "We must all work together to fatten the investment portfolios of the largest insurers."

The Leonards, who did win $ 1,228.16 in claims - representing about 1% of the estimated $130,000 in total damage to their home - declined comment, but Paul Leonard was overheard mumbling something to his attorney about "award" and "stick it up your fucking ass."

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