Here is a life insurance case wherein the insurance company attempts to have the Court agree to rescission of the policy.  It is a 2021, opinion from the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division.  The opinion is styled, Pruco Insurance Company v. Blanca Monica Villarreal – Transamerica Life Insurance Company v. Blanca Monica Villarreal.

This opinion regards both sides filing motion for summary judgement.  The case involves millions of dollars of life insurance.  The facts of the case are long and detailed and the opinion should be read to understand the facts.  The case also deals with many issues.  The issue discussed here has to do with rescission.

The insurer claim there are undisputed facts that show material, intentional misrepresentations made in the application for insurance, warranting rescission as a matter of law.  A material fact is one that might affect the outcome of the suit
under governing law,” and “a fact issue is genuine if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the non-moving party.

Insurance lawyers need to be keeping up with the way courts are interpreting the new Texas Insurance Code, Section 542A.  This is discussed in this 2021 opinion from the Northern District of Texas, Amarillo Division.  The opinion is styled, Ashlee Green v. Allstate Vehicle and Property Insurance Co.

Here, Plaintiff had a property coverage policy with Allstate and alleges she suffered damage caused by a severe storm.  The adjuster, Steven Buchert, found $4,005.17 of damages while Plaintiff seeks damages that totals to $46,472.15.  A lawsuit was filed in State Court suing Allstate and Buchert for various violations of the Texas Insurance Code, Chapters 541 and 542.

Allstate filed its Written Notice of Election of Legal Responsibility for Agent pursuant to Section 542A.006, accepting liability for Buchert’s actions or omissions related to the case.  The state court dismissed Buchert with prejudice and Allstate filed it’s notice of removal.

Here is a 2021, opinion from the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division, wherein the insurance company missed a deadline and tried to excuse the mistake.  The styled of the opinion is, Aldo Cueller v. Safeco Insurance Company of Indiana.

Aldo sued Safeco in state court for breach of contract and various violations of the Texas Insurance Code after Safeco denied Also’s claim for water damage to is property.  After the deadline for removal passed, Safeco filed a Notice of Removal and Aldo responded with a Motion to Remand arguing the removal was untimely.

Aldo filed the suit on May 25, 2021, and served Safeco’s registered agent in Texas on June 4, 2021.

Insurance lawyers can listen to a client’s perspective on what happened in a claim but often times will not understand the extent of wrong doings by an insurer until a lawsuit has been filed and the discovery process completed.  In this regard, exactly what is discoverable in a lawsuit?

The areas and information that can be discovered in a lawsuit will vary with each situation.  The Beaumont Court of Appeals issued an opinion in 2021, that touches on this issue of “what is discoverable.”  The opinion is styled, In Re Liberty Insurance Corporation.

In the lawsuit, the insureds, Michael and John Young, sued their insurer, Liberty Insurance Corporation, for various violations of the Texas Insurance Code arising out of a pipe burst that caused damage to their home.

Insurance lawyers can read this opinion to find out, exactly what Not to do in a trial.  This 2021, opinion is from the San Antonio Court of Appeals.  The opinion is styled, Sarah Friend Neutze v. Texas Farmers Insurance Company and James ‘Doug’ Wasson, II.

What this case teaches is what Not to do.  That is, do not waive the right you to have a record made of the proceeding.

Neutze sued Farmers on a homeowners claim concerning tornado damage to to her property.  Farmers is alleged to have delayed in making payments and refused to make some payments.  Neutze eventually sued alleging breach of contract, violations of the Texas Insurance Code and violations of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.

The United States 5th Circuit Court of Appeals issued an opinion on August 12, 2021, that is noteworthy for Insurance Law attorneys.  The opinion is styled, Randy Randel; Debra Randel v. Travelers Lloyds of Texas Insurance Company.

After a fire at their home, the Randels filed a claim for benefits from their home insurance company, Travelers.  Eventually the parties agreed to an appraisal and the appraisal award was closer to the Randel’s view of the damages.  Travelers had already paid an amount they thought was proper.  After the appraisal Travelers paid the full appraisal amount.

The Randels brought suit against Travelers for breach of contract and violation of the Texas Prompt Payment of Claims Act.  The breach of contract claim was denied by the Court but the Texas Prompt Payment of Claims violation went forward in the lawsuit.

Here is a 2021, opinion from the Western District of Texas, San Antonio Division, where the insured made a claim for hail damage against its insurer but did virtually nothing to prove the damage was caused by hail.  The style of the case is, 343 West Sunset, LLC v. Seneca Insurance Company, Inc.

In this case, 343 made a claim for hail damages.  The date listed for the hail damage was the last date for which there was coverage and it was undisputed that there was no hail storm on that date.

The Court spells out the problems with this claim and why the court is granted summary judgment in favor of Seneca.

A Federal Court for the Western District of Texas, Midland/Odessa Division issued an opinion in 2021, that deals with the Texas Prompt Payment of Claims Act (TPPCA).  The style of the opinion is long.  We will call it Woodcrest Capital, LLC, et al v. Zurich American Insurance Company.

The TPPCA is found in Chapter 542 of the Texas Insurance Code.  Chapter 542 of the TIC does not contain a statute of limitations.  District courts in the Fifth Circuit are split on whether a twoyear or fouryear statute of limitations applies to claims brought under Chapter 542, and the Fifth Circuit has not considered the issue.  The dispute is whether the two-year statute of limitations included in Chapter 541 of the TIC or the four-year statute of limitations in Section 16.051 applies to claims arising under Chapter 542.

Plaintiffs contend Defendant violated Section 542.058 when it failed to pay Plaintiffs’ insurance claims within sixty (60) days after receiving all items, statements, and forms requested.  Plaintiffs conclude that their TPPCA claim arises under the statute, not under the Policies; therefore, the contractual limitation does not apply to their TPPCA claim Additionally, Plaintiffs argue the contractual limitation in the Policies does not apply to the TPPCA claim because the language in the Policies suggests that it only applies to claims for breach of duties imposed by the Policies.  The Court agrees with Plaintiffs.

Hee is a 2021, opinion dealing with bad faith claims by an insured and the insurance company efforts to dispose of the bad faith claim via summary judgement.  The opinion is from the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division, and is styled, GeoVera Specialty Insurance Company v. Sam Walker.

The insured is Walker.  The insurance company is GeoVera.  Walker suffered wind damage and a subsequent theft claim.  There are other issues in the case, but only the bad-faith / extra=contractual issues will be looked at here.

Geovera denied the claim and then sued Walker seeking a declaratory judgment that it did not owe any damages to Walker.

The question asked in the title is a good question.  However, it is a hard question to answer.  A 2021, opinion from the Northern District of Texas, Fort Worth Division, lends some insight into how bad faith is analyzed by the courts.  The opinion is styled, Cocanougher Asset No. 3, LLC v. Twin City Fire Insurance Company.

The facts of the case can be read in the opinion and will not be rehashed here.

Twin City filed a motion for summary judgement on the bad faith allegations of the plaintiff.  In deciding the motion in favor of the plaintiff, the court explained how these situations are analyzed.

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