Coast couple's Katrina insurance claims to be heard by Federal appeals court

A Pascagoula couple will argue in a

federal appeals court on Aug. 6 that Nationwide Mutual Insurance

should be forced to cover the storm surge damage to their home from

Hurricane Katrina.

Paul and Julie Leonard are appealing a 2006 decision by U.S.

District Judge L.T. Senter Jr.

Senter ruled that the Gulf Coast couple can't collect damages

from storm surge caused by Katrina because Nationwide's policies do

not cover wind-driven water damage.

Senter said the Leonards could be compensated for damage that

they could prove was caused by high winds.

Senter's ruling, if unchallenged, would have set a precedent for

hundreds of other lawsuits against the insurance industry, which

has denied billions of dollars in claims after the Aug. 29, 2005


The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans set oral

arguments for Aug. 6, only a few weeks before the second

anniversary of Katrina.