Examinations Under Oath

Dallas insurance attorneys need to know some basics about an examination under oath.
Almost all insurance policies require that the insured submit to an examination under oath upon request. The Corpus Christi Court of Appeals issued an opinion in 2011, related to this issue.
The style of the case is “In Re Cypress Texas Lloyds” and has the following relevant information:
By writ of mandamus, Cypress sought an order compelling the trial court to abate the underlying lawsuit and to require the Vargas family to submit to an examination under oath.
The Vargas family had made a claim for minor damage to their home after a hurricane. Cypress denied the claim after it’s investigation.
The Vargas’s sued and after the lawsuit was filed, which was after the denial of the claim, Cypress demanded that the Vargas’s submit to an examination under oath.
The Court examined the case as follows:
Insurance policy provisions requiring an insured to submit to an examination under oath are considered a condition precedent to a lawsuit. Texas law says that where an insured fails to comply with a condition precedent requiring the insured to submit to an examination under oath (EUO), the remedy is abatement of the case.
The Court then examined the exact wording of the insurance contract.
Cypress argued about other cases wherein the courts required the lawsuits to be abated until the EUO requirement had been complied with. The cases were cases in which the insurance company had not yet denied the claim. The Court then pointed out that in this case, Cypress had already denied the claim without conducting an EUO.
The Court said that requiring the suit to be abated under these circumstances would frustrate an objective of our legal system to resolve lawsuits with “great expedition and dispatch and at the least expense’ to the litigants.
Cypress’s remedy at this point is to take the Vargas family’s depositions as provided by the Texas Rule of Civil Procedure, 192.1. and 199. Cypress did not provide the Court with any explanation regarding why such depositions would not be equally sufficient as EUO’s to enable it to obtain the material facts to allow it to decide on its obligations or to protect against any false claims.
This case was one of those unusual situations wherein the insured was not required to submit to an EUO even though it was a requirement in the insurance policy. The distinction between this case and the usual outcome was that the insurance company had already investigated and denied the claim prior to requesting the EUO.
Something to realize is that when an insurance company is requesting an EUO, they are being suspicious of the claim. This means they are seriously considering denying the claim. If a person is being asked to submit to an EUO, it it advisable that the seek the advice of an experienced insurance law attorney. Submitting to the EUO without first consulting an attorney is a big mistake and something that should NOT be done.