Texas Insurance Law Newsbrief

Texas courts continue their busy pace in insurance cases.

TEXAS SUPREME COURT REVERSES RUTTINGER: WORKERS COMPENSATION CARRIERS NOT SUBJECT TO UNFAIR SETTLEMENT PRACTICES CLAIMS UNDER THE TEXAS INSURANCE CODE

In a ground-breaking decision last Friday, the Texas Supreme Court decided that workers compensation insurers are not subject to statutory "bad faith" claims for unfair claims settlement practices under the Texas Insurance Code. Texas Mut. Ins. Co. v. Ruttinger, No. 08-0751, __ S.W.3d __ (Tex. Aug. 26, 2011).

AUSTIN COURT OF APPEALS PERMITS WORKER TO PURSUE CLAIMS FOR DENIAL OF WORKER’S COMPENSATION BENEFITS SINCE HE EXHAUSTED ALL ADMINISTRATIVE REMEDIES

Recently, the Austin Court of Appeals concluded that an employee had exhausted his administrative remedies, such that the district court possessed subject-matter jurisdiction over Jones's suit, despite delays that may have occurred. In re Texas Mutual Insurance Company and Natalie L. Garcia, 2011 WL 3435738 (Tex. App.–Austin, 2011).

APPEALS COURT UPHOLDS DISMISSAL OF INJURED WORKER’S INSURANCE CLAIM FOR FAILURE TO TIMELY FILE LAWSUIT

Recently, the Texarkana Court of Appeals affirmed the district court’s dismissal of a workers' compensation lawsuit because plaintiff failed to file his original petition within 45-days of the decision denying him relief by the Texas Department of Insurance Workers’ Compensation appeals panel. Castleberry v. ACE American Insurance Co., 2011 WL 3332077 (Tex.App.—Texarkana [6th.Dist] 2011).

COVERAGE NOT AFFORDED FOR POLICY PROVISIONS STRICKEN DURING NEGOTIATIONS

Last Friday, the Texas Supreme Court ruled that a Lloyd’s of London underwriter did not owe The Houston Exploration Co. coverage for certain offshore oil rig repairs because the provision governing the charges was stricken before the parties signed the policy. The Houston Explor. Co., et al., v. Wellington Underwriting Agencies, Ltd., et al., No. 08-0890, __ S.W.3d __ (Tex. Aug. 26, 2011) (slip opinion).

SOUTHERN DISTRICT FINDS CARRIER ENGAGED IN FORUM SHOPPING: DISMISSES DECLARATORY JUDGMENT ACTION AGAINST INSURED

Last Monday, Judge Ellison in the Southern District of Texas dismissed a declaratory judgment action brought by Nationwide against its insured, Lafarge, seeking a determination of its defense and indemnity obligations. Nationwide Prop. & Case Ins. Co. v. Lafarge, 2011 WL 3702437 (S.D. Tex. 2011) (slip copy).

IMPERIAL SUGAR FILES COVERAGE SUIT SEEKING $50 MILLION TO DEFEND THIRD-PARTY CLAIMS ARISING FROM REFINERY EXPLOSION

Texas based Imperial Sugar Company sued its insurers in Southern District of Texas last Tuesday, seeking coverage for claims arising out of a refinery explosion in Georgia. Imperial Sugar Co. v. American Guar., et al., Cause No. 4:11-CV-03081, in the Southern District of Texas.

STEWART TITLE GUARANTY COMPANY SUES GREAT AMERICAN OVER FRAUD CLAIMS

Recently, Stewart Title Guaranty Co. sued Great American Insurance Co. in the federal Southern District of Texas, demanding coverage under a $15 million financial institution bond for claims stemming from alleged fraud by an agent of the title insurance company in real estate closings.

NATIONAL FLOOD INSURANCE PROGRAM SET TO EXPIRE SEPTEMBER 30, 2011

Although the House approved the bipartisan Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2011 in July, which would extend the NFIP through September 30, 2011, the Senate has yet to pass the bill.

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Published In: Civil Procedure Updates, General Business Updates, Consumer Protection Updates, Insurance Updates, Worker’s Compensation Updates

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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