The Mississippi high court opinion is well worth reading and found in a link to Lee’s story. It makes the commonsense point that:

No reasonable person can seriously dispute that if a loss occurs, caused by either a covered peril (wind) or an excluded peril (water), that particular loss is not changed by any subsequent cause or event.

Once it’s a loss, it’s not undone by something else.

All this pettifogging may seem obscure, but that’s kind of the point. These are details you only care about if you are fighting for your house.

There’s much more. Lee’s story lays out the reactions and details, including a key one—that the Mississippi ruling trumps the federal appeals court since insurance contracts are governed by state law—and notes the Pyrrhic nature of the victory for those who settled based on the federal court ruling.

The Times-Pic and SunHerald’s Katrina reporting demonstrates the critical importance of independent local news coverage. The Audit thanks them for staying on this story.

Dean Starkman Dean Starkman runs The Audit, CJR's business section, and is the author of The Watchdog That Didn't Bark: The Financial Crisis and the Disappearance of Investigative Journalism (Columbia University Press, January 2014).

Follow Dean on Twitter: @deanstarkman.