Latest News


Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 1933-2020

September 20th, 2020 By Catherine Hanna

“Women belong in all places where decisions are being made. It shouldn’t be that women are the exception.” Ruth Bader Ginsburg Like many fellow Americans I was heartbroken to learn on Friday evening that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had died at age 87. For many reasons, this loss hit American women especially hard.  Justice Ginsburg spent her entire career advocating for the rights of women to be treated equally at home and at work. Her legacy can be
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COVID-19 Case Note: Government mandated shutdown did not cause direct physical loss required to trigger business interruption coverage.

September 13th, 2020 By Sheila Tan

For many businesses in Texas that have been shut-down or restricted by state and local government orders due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, one of the most pressing questions raised is: is there business interruption coverage? And for at least some barber shops in Bexar County, the Western District has answered with a definitive no. In Diesel Barbershop et al. v. State Farm Lloyds, No. 5-20-CV-461-DAE, Plaintiffs run barbershop businesses that were classified as “non-essential businesses” and forced to cease
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Covid Webcast Alert

September 8th, 2020 By Catherine Hanna

Hanna & Plaut partner Catherine Hanna recently recorded a webcast for the State Bar of Texas with renowned Texas policyholder attorneys Vince Morgan and William Chriss and fellow carrier attorney Stephen Melendi to discuss coverage issues arising from the Covid19 pandemic. The webcast premiers today – Tuesday, September 8, 2020. Come for the coverage overview. Stay for the discussion of Covid cockroaches!


Breaking News on UM/UIM

August 31st, 2020 By Catherine Hanna

On Friday, the Texas Supreme Court set an underinsured motorist (UIM) mandamus case – Cause No. 19-0791, In re State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. and Terecina Shahan – for oral argument on December 2, 2020.  The case revisits an issue presented to the Court in Weber v. Progressive Cty. Mut. Ins. Co., 2018 W. 564001 (Tex. App. – Dallas 2018, pet. denied) on Petition for Review.   In Weber, the Dallas Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal of extracontractual UIM
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Plaut Spouts: Top Ten Tips and Tricks for Lawyers on Zoom!

August 16th, 2020 By David L. Plaut

I came up with this list the hard way and don’t think that’s because I’m a technophobe.  I’m not and won’t make any stupid myspace jokes here.  There are usually some problems with Zoom depositions, mediations, and hearings and most of that is user error.  Here are some things to think about before jumping on Zoom: Practice, practice, practice! If you haven’t used Zoom for a deposition, mediation, or hearing make sure you set up a practice session with someone
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The More Things Change …The More They Stay the Same

August 11th, 2020 By Tara Mireur

The San Antonio Court of Appeals recently granted Progressive Insurance Company’s petition for writ of mandamus and directed the trial court to vacate its order denying Progressive’s motion to sever and abate the plaintiff’s extra-contractual allegations. In In re Progressive County Mutual Insurance Company, 2020 WL 3815927 (Tex. App. – San Antonio July 8, 2020, n.p.h.), the plaintiff, after settlement with the tortfeasor, brought a declaratory judgment action for recovery of UIM benefits under her insurance policy and alleged violations
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More (Or Less?) on Indemnity: A Brief Primer on Texas Construction Anti-Indemnity Act

July 26th, 2020 By Eric S. Peabody

The Texas Construction Anti-Indemnity Act, codified in Subchapter C of Chapter 151 of the Texas Insurance Code, renders void certain construction indemnity agreements that purport to indemnify the indemnitee for its own fault, even if that fault is shared or contributory. While most states now have some type of anti-indemnity statute, Texas is one of only a handful of states whose statutes void related additional-insured procurement and policy provisions as well. The Act applies to any “construction contract” for a
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Court nixes attempted end-run around Brainard.

July 20th, 2020 By Lauren Burgess

The Southern District of Texas, McAllen Division recently issued an opinion in a UIM case that precludes the recovery of extra-contractual damages absent a finding that the insured was entitled to benefits. In Garza v. Allstate, the plaintiff brought suit against Allstate for violations of Chapter 541 of the Texas Insurance Code on the basis that Allstate denied his underinsured motorist claim “without providing any explanation.” Plaintiff specifically alleged that he was “not seeking any of the proceeds of the
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Welcome New Attorneys Ana and Erin to Hanna & Plaut

July 14th, 2020 By Catherine Hanna

We are thrilled to welcome Ana Navarette and Erin Holmes to the Hanna & Plaut family. Erin comes to us from Skelton & Woody where she represented insurance carriers and their insureds, primarily defending lawsuits arising from auto accidents involving claims of negligence, UIM coverage, breach of contract, DTPA, Texas Insurance Code, and bad faith.  Erin was awarded her law degree from the University of Wisconsin Law School-Madison in 2002. She has been licensed to practice law in Texas since
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Texas Supreme Court finds for carriers in Air Ambulance decision.

July 6th, 2020 By Robert Josey

On June 26, 2020, in a 7/2 ruling, the Texas Supreme Court issued its decision in Texas Mutual Insurance Company v. PHI Air Ambulance, reversing the Austin Court of Appeals and holding that: (1) federal law does not pre-empt the Texas Department of Insurance – Division of Workers’ Compensation (the Division) from determining fair and reasonable rates for air ambulance services; and (2) federal law does not require the Division to mandate Carriers pay more than a fair and reasonable
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