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Is Eight Enough, Part 2 – Texas Supreme Court Justices Signal Skepticism of Extrinsic Evidence Exception

February 9th, 2020 By Eric S. Peabody

On January 8, 2020, the Texas Supreme Court heard argument on a certified question from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in State Farm Lloyds v. Richards, 784 Fed. App’x 247 (5th Cir. 2019), certified question accepted (Sept. 13, 2019), which asks: Is extrinsic evidence permissible—and the strict eight-corners rule inapplicable—in determining the duty to defend if the policy does not require defense of groundless, false or fraudulent allegations? Jeff Glass previously blogged about this certified question here.
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A Judicially Created Catch 22? The Settlement Without Consent Clause

February 3rd, 2020 By Karla Huertas

The uninsured/underinsured (UM/UIM)  coverage portion of Texas automobile insurance policies contains a “settlement without consent” provision which requires an insurer to obtain the consent of its insured before settling any claim. This condition exists to protect the interests of insurance carriers in recovering from a responsible party money paid to the insured in connection with an accident. Recently, in Davis v. State Farm Lloyds, Inc., 2019 WL 5884405 (Tex. App.—Dallas Nov. 12, 2019, no pet. h.), the Fifth Court of
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Plaut Spouts: Dealing with the Difficult Lawyer

January 20th, 2020 By David L. Plaut

One of the great pleasures of law practice is the camaraderie between lawyers and professionalism that exist despite the often high-stakes nature of litigation.  On the other hand, there’s nothing worse than having to deal with opposing counsel who is rude to you and your staff, belligerent in his demands, oblivious to the clear requirements of Texas law, and contentious as a matter of course.  Dealing with jokers of this sort is a skill that can be learned.  I’ve often
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Happy New Year! High hopes for 2020!

January 15th, 2020 By Catherine Hanna

“A New Year’s resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other.” ‘Tis the season. . . for goals and resolutions! Many people scoff at those of us who make New Year’s Resolutions, claiming they don’t work. That attitude may be accurate for many resolutions – even if we do lose those pounds, aren’t they more likely than not to come right back on? In fact, the trend these days, is to come up with goals or
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Lauren Burgess Appointed as Director-at-Large for TADC

December 11th, 2019 By Catherine Hanna

Hanna & Plaut is pleased and proud to report that our own Lauren Burgess has been named a Director-at-Large for the Texas Association of Defense Counsel. TADC is a professional organization of civil trial attorneys dedicated to promoting excellence in its members, fairness in our judicial system, and preserving the right to jury trial for all citizens. In order to become a member of the Texas Association of Defense Counsel, an attorney must be in good standing with the State
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Chapter 542A and the Importance of the Presuit Notice Letter

December 1st, 2019 By Lauren Burgess

Chapter 542A of the Texas Insurance Code applies to wind and hail claims filed on or after September 1, 2017, as a response to concerns raised regarding the handling of insurance claims arising out hailstorms and other forces of nature. The goal of Chapter 542A was to “mitigate the growing trend of abusive severe weather event lawsuits” and to address the growing number of weather-related lawsuits against property insurers, which “is motivated by profit, not actual damages to real property,
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Hanna and Plaut sponsors Austin Public Library Foundation Gala

November 11th, 2019 By Catherine Hanna

“The library is a gathering pool of narratives and of the people who come to find them. It is where we can glimpse immortality; in the library, we can live forever.” ― Susan Orlean, The Library Book Lawyers are readers and insurance coverage lawyers read a lot. When we get tired of reading insurance policies (which hardly ever happens, we promise!) most of us enjoy curling up with a good book. You can often find us discussing books we’ve read
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The Western District Takes a Wrong Turn on the UM/UIM Highway

October 18th, 2019 By David L. Plaut

A new federal UM/UIM “bad faith” decision out of the San Antonio Division of the Western District of Texas – Civil Action No. SA-19-CV-00180-FB-ESC, Trejo v. Allstate Fire and Casualty Ins. – involves claims against an insurance adjuster and allegations of improper joinder remand.  The magistrate’s report in Trejo found an Insurance Code cause of action against the adjuster under Chapter 541 despite the Texas Supreme Court’s decision in Brainard v. Trinity Universal Ins. Co., 216 S.W.3d. 809 (Tex. 2006).
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Is Eight Enough? The Texas Supreme Court may answer that question when it tackles the eight-corners rule.

September 24th, 2019 By Jeffrey C. Glass

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals recently certified to the Texas Supreme Court, and the latter accepted, a question that could end up undermining the “eight corners” rule.  State Farm Lloyds v. Richards, 18-10721, 2019 WL 4267354, at *3 (5th Cir. Sept. 9, 2019), certified question accepted (Sept. 13, 2019) Jayden Meals was killed in an all-terrain vehicle accident while under the temporary care of his grandparents, the Richards. Jayden’s mother sued the Richards in state court alleging they were
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A Cautionary Tale. . .

September 17th, 2019 By Tara Mireur

In USAA Texas Lloyds Company v. Griffith, 2019 WL 2611015 (Tex.App. –Corpus Christi, June 26, 2019), the Corpus Christi Court of Appeals affirmed a Hidalgo County jury verdict that awarded Plaintiff John Griffith $776,000 after USAA seemingly performed an unreasonable investigation of his roof claim. The case provides insurers with an example of how a simple oversight can turn a bona fide dispute into a bona fide mess. Griffith held a USAA policy on his home in McAllen, Texas.  His
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