Hail Damage Claims –

This is a case about hail damage.  But, this is not the significance of the case.

The Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division, issued an opinion on April 28, 2021.  The opinion is styled, Alejandro Martinez Perez and Claudia A. Lopez Orozco v. Allstate Vehicle And Property Insurance Company and Stephen McKinney.

The significance of this case is that the Plaintiff’s filed a motion for summary judgement and Allstate did not respond to the motion.  In 27 years of practicing law, this is the first time I have noticed an insurance company law firm not respond to a summary judgment motion.

The facts filed with Plaintiff’s motion are lengthy and can be read in the opinion.  The ruling of the verdict follows:

When ruling on a motion for summary judgment, the court is required to view all facts and inferences in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party and resolve all disputed facts in favor of the nonmoving party.

Once the moving party has made an initial showing that there is no evidence to support the nonmoving party’s case, the party opposing the motion must come forward with competent summary judgment evidence of the existence of a genuine dispute of material factOn the other hand, if the movant bears the burden of proof on an issue, either because he is the plaintiff or as a defendant he is asserting an affirmative defense, he must establish beyond peradventure all of the essential elements of the claim or defense to warrant judgment in his favor.  When the record taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the nonmoving party, there is no genuine dispute for trial.

The party opposing summary judgment is required to identify specific evidence in the record and to articulate the precise manner in which that evidence supports his or her claim.  Federal Rule of Civil Procedure, Rule 56, does not impose a duty on the court to sift through the record in search of evidence to support the nonmovant’s opposition to the motion for summary judgment.  Only disputes over facts that might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing laws will properly preclude the entry of summary judgment.  If the nonmoving party fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to its case and on which it will bear the burden of proof at trial, summary judgment must be granted.

When no response is filed, such failure does permit the court to accept as undisputed the evidence set forth in support of a movant’s motion for summary judgment.  Accordingly, the court accepts Plaintiffs’ facts and evidence as undisputed.

The Court then examined each cause of action asserted and explained how the elements of each cause of action was addressed in Plaintiffs motion for summary judgment.  These included, and are worth reading, the causes of action for a.)  breach of contract, and b.) the Texas Prompt Payment of Claims Act.  The issue of attorney fees was left to post-judgment actions.

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