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L.A. COUNTY GETS $10M FOR QUAKE DAMAGE Los Angeles County’s insurance companies should pay $10 million to repair buildings damaged by the 1994 Northridge earthquake, an Orange County jury said last week. But because the county’s lawyers had asked the jury to award more than $500 million, the insurance companies’ lawyers are claiming victory. The $10 million award is far less than the $20 million deductible on the county’s insurance policy, said Marjie Barrows, a partner at Emeryville’s Rudloff, Wood & Barrows who helped represent roughly a dozen insurance companies. “That means we owe nothing,” added partner G. Edward Rudloff Jr., who also tried the case. L.A. County’s outside counsel, Bergman & Dacey partner Gregory Bergman, could not be reached for comment Friday afternoon. The Sept. 3 jury verdict in County of Los Angeles v. Aetna Casualty and Surety, 785435 , ended a six-month trial before Orange County Superior Court Judge Ronald Bauer. L.A. County had sought $500 million to make repairs to a county courthouse, an administration building and two underground garages. The county also sought $40 million in damages for bad faith. The insurance companies argued that much of the building damage had happened in previous earthquakes. As the 6-year-old suit dragged on, some named defendants, including Aetna, settled. Last week the jury rejected the bad- faith claim and awarded $10 million for repairs on two buildings and no damages for the garages, Rudloff said. Although his firm can’t pursue attorneys fees, Rudloff plans to ask the court to award expert-witness costs, which could be as high as $5 million. — Jahna Berry

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