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Appeals court upholds Katrina insurance fraud verdict

JACKSON — Whistleblowers who sued State Farm Fire and Casualty Co. can seek more evidence of fraud against the U.S. government after 2005’s Hurricane Katrina.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Monday a jury verdict in favor of Cori and Kerry Rigsby. The two sisters sued on behalf of the government after they said they witnessed the Illinois insurance giant shifting Mississippi claims to federal flood insurance that should have been paid by private wind insurance.

The New Orleans court says the Rigsbys should get additional discovery into other possible instances besides the Biloxi case that a jury ruled for in 2013.

The three-judge appeals panel is rejecting State Farm’s claim that the case should be dismissed because its existence was leaked while it was supposed to be secret.

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