Consumers Want Allstate Records Kept Public

Insurer Asks Court to Seal Documents in Katrina Lawsuit

Consumer advocates are asking a New Orleans federal court to keep public key documents from a Hurricane Katrina-related lawsuit against Allstate Insurance Company.

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 Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR), a consumer watchdog group, Public Justice, a national public interest law firm headquartered in Washington D.C., today 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.

The insurance company has asked the court to either return or seal the trial exhibits. Those documents include Allstate’s manual for handling claims and an operational guide for subcontractors engaged to work on Katrina-related damage.

Opposing Allstate’s request, FTCR says the trial exhibits “provide insight into Allstate’s decision-making process” and that denying public access to them “would directly impede FCTR’s mission of educating the public about insurance practices and abuses.”

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