Insurance Attorney Needed To File Lawsuit

Weatherford insurance attorneys need to be aware of this recent United States District Court, Dallas Division, opinion. The style is DeCluette v. State Farm Lloyds and Ruben Gallegos.
Here is some relevant information:
According to DeCluette, he purchased a homeowner’s insurance policy from State Farm to protect their residence in the event of damage. Storms struck Dallas County and damaged his residential property. He filed a claim with State Farm against the insurance policy for various damages to the residential property resulting from the storm. Ruben Gallegos was an employee of State Farm, serving as an insurance adjuster for the claim. Gallegos allegedly failed to thoroughly investigate and properly adjust DeCluettes’ property damage claims. As a result of Gallegos’ allegedly improper adjustment of the claim, State Farm denied a portion of the insurance claim.
Consequently, DeCluette filed a lawsuit against both Defendants in the County Court at Law, Dallas County, Texas. The Original Petition asserts five causes of action against State Farm and one cause of action against Gallegos. DeCluette sought actual damages, consequential damages, punitive damages, additional damages authorized by the Texas Insurance Code and Deceptive Trade Practices Act, prejudgment interest, and attorney’s fees. State Farm removed the case to federal court on the basis of diversity jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. ยง 1332(a). DeCluette filed a Motion to Remand.
State Farm argued that Gallegos was improperly joined into the lawsuit in an effort to prevent removal to Federal Court and pointed to there being no independent cause of action against Gallegos.
To demonstrate improper joinder for failure to establish a cause of action, a showing that “there is no possibility of recovery by the plaintiff against an in-state defendant, which stated differently means that there is no reasonable basis for the district court to predict that the plaintiff might be able to recover against an in-state defendant,” is required.
State Farm argues improper joinder because DeCluette failed to state a claim against Gallegos by neglecting to state any specific facts to support their allegations against Gallegos. DeCluette’s Original Petition asserts causes of action against Gallegos for unfair and deceptive acts actionable under Section 541.060(a) of the Texas Insurance Code. DeCluette maintained that a valid state law cause of action has been properly alleged under the Texas Insurance Code, supported by sufficient facts.
The issue is thus whether State Farm can prove that there is no reasonable basis to predict recovery by DeCluettee against Gallegos on this claim.
DeCluette did not highlight any specific facts relating to Gallegos in support of unfair and deceptive acts actionable under Section 541.060(a) of the Texas Insurance Code. He repeatedly referred to the allegedly wrongful conduct as taken jointly by “Defendants” or “Defendant State Farm and Gallegos,” without specifying the conduct taken by each separately. Further, the allegations are merely conclusory and simply recite the elements of the causes of action.
Indeed, DeCluette did not make any attempts to serve Gallegos throughout these proceedings nor did they respond to State Farm’s assertions about lack of service. The lack of service gives an inference that DeCluette does not intend to pursue claims against Gallegos.
Finally, DeCluette has not attributed any facts to support the claim that he was damaged by Gallegos’ actions specifically. Instead, the damage claims arise out of State Farm’s failure to pay his claim, which is insufficient to establish a claim for damages against Gallegos.
Accordingly, the court refused to remand the case to the County Court.
This case is a reminder that an experienced Insurance Law Attorney must be consulted.