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High court rejects some of Katrina case award

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) – The Mississippi Supreme Court has upheld a breach-of-contract verdict in a dispute between an insurance company and a retired Navy admiral over coverage of damages from Hurricane Katrina.

However, the high court said Admiral James W. Lisanby and his wife, Gladys, failed to prove United Services Automobile Association acted in bad faith when it denied their claim.

As a result, the justices threw out $86,000 awarded by a Jackson County jury in 2008 for emotional distress and an additional $302,920 in attorneys’ fees and $211,069 in litigation expenses granted by the trial judge.

The high court’s decision let stand the jury’s awarding of $823,000 to the Lisanbys for wind damage to their home.

Lisanby had sued USAA, of San Antonio, Texas, for funds to repair damage to their Pascagoula beach front home, a rental cottage and garage as well as for other losses. They also asked the jury to award an unspecified amount for emotional distress.

The high court upheld Circuit Judge Billy G. Bridges’ decision not to allow the jury to consider punitive damages.

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