As stated before, the insurance companies prefer to litigate cases in Federal Court. One of the ways to stay out of Federal Court when suing the adjuster for an insurance company is to clearly articulate the wrongs that the insurance adjuster committed. This is illustrated in a 2019, opinion from the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division. The case is styled, David Williams v. Allstate Vehicle And Property Insurance Company.
Williams filed suit against Allstate and Allstate’s adjuster, Murray McKay, alleging that McKay violated various sections of the Texas Insurance Code when adjusting Williams claim for storm damage to his home. Allstate removed the lawsuit to Federal Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C., Section 1441(b), alleging that McKay had been improperly joined in the lawsuit, thus, the requirements of diversity were satisfied. Williams sought a remand to the State Court based on 28 U.S.C., Section 1447(c).
The Federal Court conducts a Rule 12(b)(6) type analysis to determine whether a plaintiff has failed to state a claim against a nondiverse defendant, in this case, the defendant being McKay.
Williams sued McKay for unfair settlement practices pursuant to Texas Insurance Code, Sections 541.060 and 542.003(b)(3). Williams alleges McKay was tasked with conducting a reasonable investigation, but ignored covered damages which included damage to Williams’s house, wood shakes, sheathing, aluminum shakes, roof vents, gutters, and downspouts, and exterior damage to window screens and window glaze. Williams also claims that McKay prepared an estimate which under-scoped the actual covered damages to the property. McKay’s written comments on photographs taken during the inspection indicated that he found hail damage to the metal shingles, left roof elevation, and vents, but he did not include such damages in the estimate he made. Williams alleges that these actions constitute a clear failure to properly inspect and prepare an accurate report, which lead Allstate to issue an inadequate loss payment to Williams.
The wrongs alleged to have been committed by McKay were specific and based on this, the lawsuit was remanded back to the State Court where it was filed.