Louisiana Federal Judge Dismisses Katrina Claim Filed Four Years Too Late

Author: Trevor M. Cutaiar

Northshore Apothecary suffered damage to its building in Slidell as a result of Hurricane Katrina.  The hurricane damaged both the structure and contents of the building.  Northshore Apothecary did not file its suit until August 8, 2011, nearly six years after the hurricane hit the New Orleans area.  The plaintiff sought insurance payment from its insurer, Zurich American Insurance Company.

Zurich moved to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, arguing that the plaintiff’s claim was time-barred.  A district court considering this type of motion accepts all facts pled by the plaintiff as true and views them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff.  To overcome a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, the plaintiff must plead enough facts to state a claim for relief that is factually plausible.  In other words, the factual allegations have to raise the plaintiff’s right to relief beyond speculation.

After the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, the Louisiana legislature enacted special legislation to extend the period during which Hurricane Katrina-related suits on insurance policies could be filed.  Under that legislation, Northshore Apothecary had to file its claim before September 1, 2007.  This suit was not filed until August 8, 2011, almost four years after the expiration of the prescriptive period was suspended at any time.  Because plaintiff alleged no other facts that, on their face, demonstrated a plausible right to relief, the district court dismissed plaintiff’s claim as untimely.

Northshore Apothecary, Inc. v. Zurich Am. Ins. Co., 2011 WL 4965603 (E.D. La. Oct. 19, 2011).