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Woodward tornado victims win $15 million court settlement over insurance claims

Three plaintiffs were awarded more than $5 million each in a court fight with their insurance company for claims made after a 2012 tornado.
by Jennifer Palmer Modified: March 5, 2014 at 2:00 pm •  Published: March 4, 2014

In that case, a Bridge Creek couple were awarded nearly $13 million, including $9.9 million in punitive damages and $3 million in actual damages.

The company settled with 70 others outside of court.

Marr also represents more than two dozen clients in cases resulting from the May 19 and 20 tornadoes.

One homeowner’s story

When the tornado barreled through Woodward on April 15, 2012, Parks wasn’t concerned about his own home.

A Woodward police officer at the time, Parks worked through the night responding to the disaster in his community.

“I had insurance, so I wasn’t worried at all,” Parks said.

“I just figured I’d call my agent and everything would be fine,” Parks said.

When his insurer said there were no signs of structural damage, he hired his own engineer, who said the home was totaled.

The payment Parks did receive was used for repairs, he said, but he also had to take out a second mortgage.

For now, he’s still living in the home.

“I notice new cracks every day. You can hear the wind at night in the ceiling. It’s never going to be the same,” he said.

Now a firefighter, Parks said he’s looking forward to receiving his settlement so he can buy a new house and get out of debt — but he doesn’t intend to quit working.

“My life has been on hold basically for two years,” he said. “It’s nice knowing I will eventually get something.”

by Jennifer Palmer
Investigative Reporter
Jennifer Palmer joined The Oklahoman staff in 2008 and, after five years on the business desk, is now digging deeper through investigative work. She's been recognized with awards in public service reporting and personal column writing. Prior to...
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