Public Justice, a law firm headquartered in Washington, D.C., and the California-based Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR), are asking a New Orleans federal court to keep public key documents from a Hurricane Katrina-related lawsuit against Allstate Insurance Company.
According to an announcement released by the consumer advocates, the groups want to ensure that Allstate cannot seal court records that reveal the claims practices and policies it used to leave homeowners empty-handed after Hurricane Katrina.
Representing FTCR, Public Justice filed an opposition to Allstate’s motion to “seal” the trial exhibits in Weiss v. Allstate, the case of a New Orleans couple who earlier this year won a $2.8 million verdict against Allstate for illegally refusing a hurricane-related claim. The parties subsequently settled; the terms are confidential.
According to the consumer groups, the insurance company has asked the court to either return or seal the trial exhibits, which include Allstate’s manual for handling claims and an operational guide for subcontractors engaged to work on Katrina-related damage.
Requesting that the trial exhibits remain public, FTCR said they “provide insight into Allstate’s decision-making process” and that denying public access to them “would directly impede FTCR’s mission of educating the public about insurance practices and abuses.”
FTCR alleges that Allstate and other insurance companies constructed claims handling processes that help them avoid paying claims.
SOURCE Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights
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