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State Farm appeals $3M attorney fees, damages judgment in Katrina whistleblower case

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JACKSON, Mississippi — State Farm Fire and Casualty Co. has appealed an order that it pay legal fees and damages of $3 million in a whistleblower lawsuit.

A jury in Mississippi found the insurer defrauded the government in a policyholder claim after Hurricane Katrina.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has scheduled oral arguments for Feb. 5 in New Orleans.

Sisters Cori and Kerri Rigsby of Ocean Springs, Mississippi, worked for an Alabama contractor hired by State Farm to provide damage assessments after the August 2005 hurricane. Their lawsuit was filed in 2006.

The jury found in 2013 that State Farm avoided covering a policyholder's wind losses by blaming damage on storm surge, which is covered by federal flood insurance.

State Farm wants the verdict overturned and the Rigsbys' claims dismissed.

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