Latest News


When Roadmaps are a BAD Thing . . .

April 22nd, 2019 By Eric S. Peabody

Unfortunately for insurance professionals dealing with claims in multiple jurisdictions, the state-specific rules regarding reservations-of-rights (“ROR”) letters (aka coverage positions letters, non-waiver letters, etc.) can be as varied as insurance laws themselves. Further uncertainty is created because most of these “rules” are judicially created, are rarely set forth in absolute terms, and often require context that may or may not be evident in the scant case law addressing them.  Because some jurisdictions treat the failure to properly reserve rights with
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Eastern District Declines to Invalidate Arbitration Provision in Harvey Coverage Litigation

April 13th, 2019 By Sarah Scott

In recent litigation arising out of Hurricane Harvey damage, Eastern District Magistrate Judge Zack Hawthorn has recommended that the District Court enforce an arbitration provision in a commercial property insurance policy issued to Southwest LTC-Management Services, LLC.  Doc. #16, Report and Recommendation, Southwest LTC-Management Service, LLC v. Lexington Ins. Co. et al., No.1:18-CV-00491-MAC (E.D. Tex., March 29, 2019). Plaintiff filed suit in state court requesting $8,400,000 in damages to its Port Arthur property. After removing the case to federal court,
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Texas Supreme Court Rejects Attempt to Overturn Brainard

March 31st, 2019 By Catherine Hanna

On Friday, March 29, 2019, the Texas Supreme Court denied review in Case No. 18-0231, Weber v. Progressive.  Hanna & Plaut’s Jeff Glass and David Plaut represented Progressive in this UM/UIM case that sought to overturn the Texas Supreme Court’s Brainard and Henson decisions. Weber argued that she “complied with all conditions precedent” to sue for breach of contract on her personal auto policy with Progressive when she obtained consent to settle with the underlying tortfeasor after exhaustion of the
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Speaking Engagements and Recognitions

March 20th, 2019 By Catherine Hanna

We’re pleased to announce that Hanna & Plaut associate Sheila Tan has once again been selected to the 2019 Texas Rising Stars list. Each year, no more than 2.5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by the research team at Super Lawyers to receive this honor. We are not surprised that Sheila is one of that small percentage of preeminent young attorneys in the state. For more information about Super Lawyers, visit SuperLawyers.com. In other news, partner
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Did the Hot Seat Just Get Hotter?

March 11th, 2019 By Megan Zeller

Potential Substantive Changes to Rule 30(b)(6): What Companies Need to Know For the last fifty years Rule 30(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, which governs corporate representative depositions, has remain unchanged.  Now, in a move that is causing defense attorneys and their clients heartburn, the Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure of the Judicial Conference of the United States has proposed an amendment that could potentially cause discovery disputes to hit the roof. In its current form,
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Happy International Women’s Day!

March 8th, 2019 By Catherine Hanna

“After all, Ginger Rogers did everything that Fred Astaire did. She just did it backwards and in high heels.”― Ann Richards For International Women’s Day I wanted to post a photo of the women of Hanna & Plaut, but I didn’t plan ahead  so you’ll have to wait until the end of the month to see photographic evidence of our amazing team. Meanwhile, you can picture the hardest working office manager in this business and three fantastic legal assistants, including my
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Plaut Spouts: Reflections of an Old Guy with a Corner Office

February 28th, 2019 By David L. Plaut

On February 20, 2019, the Texas Supreme Court heard argument in Barbara Technologies Corp. v. State Farm Lloyds and Oscar Ortiz v. State Farm Lloyds.  These cases raised questions about whether insurers have potential Insurance Code and common law “bad faith” liability following invocation of the appraisal process and payment of an appraisal award.  In both cases, appraisal panels awarded significantly more for repair costs than the insurers had initially estimated, making them attractive vehicles for policyholder arguments that carriers
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Fifth Circuit Reaffirms Attorney Immunity Doctrine

February 25th, 2019 By Tara Mireur

In Ironshore Europe DAC v. Schiff Hardin, LLP, No. 18-40101 (5th Cir. 2019), the Fifth Circuit recently reversed the district court decision we previously wrote about here. The district court denied an attorney’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit against it by an excess insurance carrier complaining it was misled about settlement, instead holding that the law firm could not be held liable to a nonclient under the attorney immunity defense doctrine.   The lower court’s decision to allow the claim was
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Keeping Adjusters Out of the Hot Seat – UM/UIM Edition

February 3rd, 2019 By Sheila Tan

UM/UIM cases are a unique hybrid of tort and contract. Although the insured’s own insurance carrier is often named as a defendant, it has no contractual duty to pay benefits until after the liability of the insured and the other motorist, as well as the damages suffered by the insured, have been determined. Brainard v. Trinity Universal Ins. Co., 216 S.W.3d 809, 815 (Tex. 2006). Trial courts often struggle with the dilemma of how to avoid the prejudicial injection of insurance
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You Can Lead an Insured to Water but Can You Make Him Settle?

January 27th, 2019 By Eric S. Peabody

Policy Creates Agency Relationship for Settlement An unpublished Texas opinion that has received some national attention in “case roundups” at the end of 2018, McCain v. Promise House, Inc., No. 05-16-00714-CV, 2018 WL 2042009 (Tex. App.–Dallas, May 2, 2018, no pet.), addressed the effect of an insured’s refusal to sign off on a settlement agreement desired and approved by its liability carrier. Glen McCain sued Promise House, a residential social services care facility, after his eleven-year-old son was physically and
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