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The Collaborative Clearinghouse for Lawsuits and Other Claims Against ACE Group Insurance Companies

Insurance Company of North America joins suit against Army Corp of Engineers over Nashville Flood.

May 23, 2012 - A quick-moving flood that in 2010 washed through much of downtown Nashville, Tenn., has led Indemnity Insurance Co. of North America to join other insurers and companies in laying the legal blame on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

INA, along with three other insurers and manufacturers that had facilities in the path of the waters, filed their suit in U.S. District Court in Nashville against the United States of America. Press reports indicated that the plaintiffs were seeking at least $27 million in damages, including $13.3 million for Nissan America and $12 million for Gibson Guitar.

In May, 2010, torrential rains in Kentucky and Tennessee caused flash flooding along the Cumberland and tributaries. More than 20 people - 11 of whom in the Nashville area - died during the floods and The Christian Science Monitor pegged its $2 billion damage tab as one of the nation’s costliest floods.

The plaintiffs contended that the Corps and the National Weather Service were responsible for scientific data and river stage forecasting for the Cumberland River - which flows through Nashville - and public dissemination of weather information and warnings.

The Corps, the lawsuit said, operated three dams along the Cumberland but they were meant for power generation or navigation, not flood control. It knew, or should have known, that its failure to warn of dangerous conditions could result in harm to property and persons, said the plaintiffs. And if the defendants’ action were committed by private persons, they would be liable to the plaintiffs.

INA’s suit marks the third lawsuit filed so far against the government over the flooding. Previously, Gaylord Entertainment Co., which operates Grand Old Opry, joined water heater manufacturer A.O. Smith in a lawsuit that claimed $326 million in damages. British insurer Royal and Sun Alliance PLC also filed suit to recover $8.85 million it paid to policyholders caught up in the flood.

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