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Fifth Circuit Backs State Farm In Katrina Case

NEW ORLEANS (CN) - The Fifth Circuit upheld the flood that State Farm Fire & Casualty used to deny hundreds of insurance claims stemming from Hurricane Katrina. John and Claire Tuepker, whose home was reduced to "a slab" by the storm, claimed the flood exclusion "is ambiguous and deceiving when read in conjunction with ... the Hurricane Deductible."

State Farm said the exclusion clearly applies to all water damage from hurricanes and "storm surges," and the hurricane deductible does not cover hurricane damage not covered under the policy.

Judge Garwood concluded that "the storm surge that damaged the Tuepkers' home is a peril that is unambiguously excluded from coverage under State Farm's policy." See ruling in Tuepker v. State Farm Fire & Casualty Co.

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