Like these other storm victims, Smith has no idea what happened to her insurance money.
In December, Apex offered her just over $12,000 for a new roof. In January, she received a settlement notice for $22,600. A breakdown of the settlement said $12,500 would go to Smith and the other 44 percent of that — about $10,000 — to cover attorneys’ fees and costs for a claim where no suit had been filed.
The settlement document also granted MMA “limited powers of attorney to validate all settlement proceeds checks … on your behalf.” Smith signed it but has never seen any of the money and her roof is still unfixed.
Butler said Apex hasn’t seen any of that money either, and the roofer is “not happy about it”.
Recently, Smith’s mother-in-law saw a TV ad from Morris Bart, a New Orleans-based personal injury attorney, who encouraged MMA clients to hire his law firm instead. Smith is one of more than 600 former MMA clients who have hired Bart’s associate Austin Marks to represent them. Marks said he was able to get Smith’s insurance company to rescind all of the comparison trials that MMA had approved.
“They took advantage of homeowners. They took advantage of insurance companies,” Marks said. “They lied, cheated and stole from everyone.”
Smith wonders how she was able to protect herself from what Judge North called “an unprecedented tableau of wrongdoing.”
“If the judge doesn’t know what to say, like if nobody’s seen this before, where do we go from here?”
“Insured to Lose” continues with Part 2 on Tuesday (March 2) and details what Judge North describes as a separate part of MMA’s “scheme”.
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