Time Limits To File Lawsuits

There are deadlines for filing lawsuits and if those time limits are not honored, then there is no case.  This is illustrated in a Southern District, Houston Division, opinion released on July 2, 2019.  The case is styled, Nancy Roberson v. Allstate Vehicle and Property Insurance Company.

Roberson sued Allstate in state court asserting causes of action for breach of contract, violations of the Texas Insurance Code, violations of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act, (DTPA) and common law fraud.  Allstate timely removed the case to federal court.  Allstate then filed a Rule 12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss.

The background in this case is that Roberson had Allstate coverage for her home when in February 2016, she filed a claim for hail damage.  An adjuster determined that her roof was in great condition and that her loss was below her deductible.

In April 2016, a tree fell on her house during a storm causing extensive damage.  An adjuster determined the loss to total $8,163.01.  Roberson asserts the adjuster failed to account for all the damage sustained to her home.  She hired another person to inspect her home and this person found damage totaling $13,482.73.

Roberson asserts the adjusters hired by Allstate gave “problematic” assessments, and that they “either intentionally or recklessly overlooked” other damage.  She also asserts the adjusters “had a vested interest in undervaluing the claims assigned to them … to maintain their employment.”

Roberson actually sued Allstate three times.  First, in September 2016, in a case she voluntarily dismissed.  Then she filed in May 2018, which she also voluntarily dismissed.  Finally, she filed this action in March 2019.

This Court granted Allstate’s Motion to Dismiss.  Roberson’s claims under the Insurance Code and DTPA are subject to a two year statute of limitations that has passed.  The Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code states a four year statute of limitations for breach of contract claims under Section 16.004 and 16.051.  However, Section 16.070 allows for contracting to a two year statute of limitations and Allstate has this limitation in the insurance contract at issue in this case.

Roberson’s fraud claim was dismissed for not being properly pleaded.