Insurance lawyers need to read this 2020, opinion from the United State Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. It is a good opinion for attorneys who represent policy holders. The opinion is styled, Jesus Agredano: Margaret Agredano v. State Farm Lloyds.
The Agredando’s sued State Farm after State Farm denied their claim for windstorm damage to their home. The District Court granted summary judgment in favor of State Farm on various causes of action but allowed the Agredano’s breach of contract claim to be presented to a jury, which granted a verdict in the Agredano’s favor. Althoughm the Agredano’s had sought attorney’s fees and statutory interest of 18%, the District Court ruled that the failure to specifically plead relief under Texas Insurance Code, Section 542.060 barred the requested relief and entered judgment only in the amount of the breach of contract damages found by the jury, together with pre-judgment and post judgment interest. This appeal was filed. This Court reversed and remanded to the District Court for reconsideration consistent with this opinion.
Two provisions of the Texas Insurance Code are relevant. Section 542.058 provides a cause of action against insurers who delay paying claims: