Hail Damage Claim

Lawyers handling hail damage claims should read this Northern District, San Angelo Division opinion. It is styled, April Munoz v. Safeco Insurance Company of Indiana, et al.
This is a homeowners hail damage claim filed by April against Safeco and the adjuster assigned to handle the claim. Munoz sued for breach of contract, violation of the Texas Insurance Code, and violations of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
This is a summary judgment action filed by Safeco which was granted by the court.
The court noted that Munoz had accepted a timely payment from Safeco based on a second appraisal and thus, filed a stipulation of dismissal for her breach of contract claim.
The remaining decision for this court concern Munoz’s claims under the Insurance Code and the DTPA. Safeco argued that these claims cannot survive without a breach of contract. Munoz argues they do survive.
Without reaching the nuances of the extensive legal analysis conducted by each party, the Court notes that controlling case law from the Fifth Circuit and the Texas Supreme Court very clearly hold that “there can be no recovery for extra-contractual damages for mishandling claims unless the complained of actions or omissions caused injury independent of those that would have resulted from a wrongful denial of policy benefits. In this case, Munoz does not offer any facts demonstrating how she suffered any damages other than those that would have resulted from a wrongful denial of benefits covered by her insurance policy. Munoz has been fully satisfied for the loss of her home by Safeco’s prompt payment of an appraisal award, and there is no evidence that she suffered additional damage as a result of any bad faith or failure to pay by Safeco. Accordingly, even if the Court were to conclude that these causes of action were viable without an underlying cause of breach of contract, Munoz would still not be entitled to recovery because she has failed to adequately show resulting damages. Because the Court is of the opinion that Munoz has not shown how she suffered independent, additional damages to support her extra-contractual claims, there can be no recovery for any of these claims and Safeco is entitled to summary judgment.

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