American Samoa Government v. Affiliated FM Insurance Company

  • Superior Court, Los Angeles County09/01/1995
    Client: American Samoa Government
    Outcome: $86.7 million verdict for the American Samoa Government

Synopsis:

In December 1991, Hurricane Val struck the U.S. Territory of American Samoa, causing widespread devastation to American Samoa Government property.

A claim under American Samoa Government's property insurance policy was subsequently denied based upon a purported exclusion of damage caused by "wind-driven water."

The case was tried in Los Angeles between May 28 and September 25, 1995.

The jury returned a verdict finding that the defendant insurer had breached the insurance policy and was guilty of bad faith. The jury awarded $28.9 million constituting the unpaid policy benefits, and $57.8 million in punitive damages.

On appeal, the $28.9 million compensatory award and post-judgment interest were affirmed and punitive damages were found to be justified. Following an additional appeal and settlements, American Samoa collected a total of $118 million.