Texas Insurance Law Newsbrief - September 19, 2011

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SOUTHERN DISTRICT JUDGE REJECTS FORM ANTI-APPRAISAL ARGUMENTS

Federal District Judge Ewing Werlein (of the Houston Division of the Southern District) last week granted a motion to compel appraisal urged by Hartford and, in doing so, he rejected a number of arguments from Plaintiffs’ counsel with the Mostyn firm which the Judge criticized as “repetitious and erroneous.” In James v. Property and Casualty Ins. Co. of Hartford, Civ. No. H-10-1998, 2011 WL 4067880 (S.D. Tex. Sept. 12, 2011), Judge Werlien first concluded that the insurer had not waived its right to appraisal, either by delay or anticipatory breach of contract.

IN APPROVING CLASS SETTLEMENT, DALLAS FEDERAL JUDGE DETERMINES POLICY PROCEEDS FROM POLICY ARE PROPERLY ALLOCATED

As part of an extensive and detailed order last week approving a $1,520,000 “limited fund” class action settlement, Senior District Judge Royal Furgeson of the Northern District of Texas was required to determine whether the defendant’s liability coverage was properly allocated. In Stott v. Capital Financial Services, Inc., No. 3:11-cv-2073-F, 2011 WL 4047666 (N.D. Tex. Sept. 12, 2011), a proposed class settlement included $120,000 from the defendant and $1.4 million from the defendant’s liability carrier, which constituted the remainder after defense costs of a $2 million sublimit of the defendant’s $5 million policy.

EL PASO APPELLATE COURT AFFIRMS SUMMARY JUDGMENT IN INSURER’S FAVOR BASED ON “INTERRELATED ACTS” CLAUSE OF CLAIMS-MADE POLICY

El Paso Court of Appeals held last Thursday that even though a 2005 suit for which an insured demanded defense and indemnity was brought during the relevant coverage period, the insured was not entitled to coverage because the dispute arose four years earlier, an earlier lawsuit was filed, and the two cases were based on “interrelated acts.” In Reeves County v. Houston Casualty Company, No. 08-09-00256-CV, 2011 WL 4062479 (Tex. App.—El Paso Sept. 14, 2011.

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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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