Rick Opitz owns the 5 Star Storage facility in Yukon, Oklahoma. He is the quintessential American small business owner. He works hard and he is willing to take risks to grow his business. He is also smart enough to hedge against risks and to buy property insurance.
In February of 2009, a hail storm swept through Yukon and wrecked Rick’s storage facility. Every single roof and every single door was damaged. Rick called his adjuster who came out and adjusted the loss. Rick was initially told that the loss was in excess of $1 million.
A week later Rick was sent a check for $600,000.00 by his insurer, LeMars Insurance Company. Take it or leave it.
Rick called me. Since the case was in Oklahoma, I enlisted the help of one of the finest lawyers (and people) I know, James Belote. James put together a hell of a case.
He took only the essential depositions and stayed focused. One of the smarter things he did was to discover what Le Mars was paying per square foot for other roof claims from the same hail storm. This evidence made it appear as though LeMars was under paying Rick by about one-third.
Last month the case went to trial in Canadian County. The jury awarded our client well over $600,000 in actual and punitive damages. The Judge will also add attorney’s fees and pre-judgment interest to the judgment.
Property damage claims are a minefield for the insured. If you are getting less than you feel you deserve for your property damage claim, call me.
Here is a video of an Oklahoma hailstorm from May 2010.
And here are some pictures of the devastation from the fires around Possum Kingdom lake last week.