Life Insurance Attorneys And Lawsuits – Fraud Allegations -DTPA

Life Insurance Attorney need to read this 2023 opinion from the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division.  The opinion is styled, Sue Williams v. Minnesota Life Insurance Company.
Sue Williams is the beneficiary of an accidental death insurance policy issued by Minnesota Life.  Michael Williams is alleged to have died due to accidental asphyxia.
Sue sued Minnesota Life for various violations of the Texas Insurance Code and Breach of Contract.
Minnesota Life filed a Rule 12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss, stating that Sue failed “to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.”
The parties do not dispute that Williams’s claims for certain violations of the Texas Insurance Code and are subject to the heightened pleading standard of Rule 9(b), as is her fraud claim.

Minnesota Life contends that Williams’s other claims for violations of the Texas Insurance Code and DTPA must be dismissed because Williams’s allegations are conclusory.   The court agrees.  For example, Williams alleges that Minnesota Life violated the DTPA by:

a. Causing confusion or misunderstanding as to the approval or certification of goods or services;

b. Representing goods or services have benefits which they do not have; c. Advertising goods or services with intent not to sell them as advertised;

d. Representing an agreement confers or involves rights and benefits which it does not have or involve or which are prohibited by law;

e. Failing to disclose information concerning goods or services which was known at the time of the transaction and such failure to disclose such information was intended to induce the consumer into a transaction into which the consumer would not have entered had the information been disclosed; and

f. Engaging in an unconscionable course of conduct.

These allegations effectively contain no factual content other than the statement that Minnesota Life violated the law.  Nowhere does Williams allege what actions Minnesota Life took that amount to an “unconscionable course of conduct” or any other violation of the statute.  Williams’s allegations with respect to the Prompt Payment of Claims Act, and unfair insurance practices, are similarly defective in their lack of any factual content.

The claims for non-fraud-based violations of the Texas Insurance Code and DTPA are dismissed, without prejudice.

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