The Supreme Court of Louisiana recently denied a writ application to review an appellate court decision that allowed an insured to pursue her claim against Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corporation despite filing her complaint six months after the state legislature’s deadline to file Hurricane Katrina-related claims.
In Pitts v. Louisiana Citizens Prop. Ins. Corp., the insured alleged that the insurer inadequately compensated her for damages sustained from Hurricane Katrina.
Pitts had alleged that prior to filing her complaint in state court, several pending class action lawsuits had represented her interests against the insurer. It was only after one court denied class certification due to a lack of demonstrated commonality, and another court restricted the class definition to exclude plaintiffs like her whose claims were insufficiently paid, however, that Pitts filed her individual suit. The trial court dismissed Pitts’s lawsuit with prejudice as being time-barred.
The appellate court reversed and remanded for further proceedings, noting that a class action filing suspends the deadline for claims and that notice ends the suspension. Thus, Pitts’s suit could proceed against her insurer.
As to the putative class members who, unlike Pitts, were not excluded from the narrowed class definition, the appellate court went on to state that the deadline was interrupted and did not begin to run anew until notice was given. Accordingly, the legislature’s deadline to file hurricane-related claims has been extended.