Latest News

You’ve come a long way, baby, but there is still a way to go!

March 24th, 2024 By Catherine Hanna

A few weeks back, I journeyed to Baton Rouge alongside my partner Sheila Tan for an appellate argument before the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. (Although typically held in New Orleans, this particular panel convened at the LSU Law School, offering law students a firsthand glimpse into the proceedings—a departure from the customary New Orleans escapades, albeit an enlightening one.) From there, I made my way to Tucson to participate in a panel discussion at the ABA Insurance Coverage Litigation
Read the full article…

Paint me like one of your…pleadings? Artful pleading remains an effective loophole to evade coverage exclusions.

February 19th, 2024 By Jessica Bigbie

Century Surety Company v. Club Adventure Learning Center, LLC, puts to rest the argument that artful pleading is an exception to Texas’s well-established eight-corners rule. 2023 WL 3575647 (W.D. Tex. May 22, 2023). In Century Surety, Aguero filed negligence claims in Texas state court against Club Adventure, and three of their employees, in connection with allegations that a Club Adventure employee “violently grabbed” Aguero’s child’s leg and “dragged him across the carpeted floor…causing injuries.” Id. at 1. Century issued Club Adventure a general liability insurance policy containing an endorsement which reduced coverage
Read the full article…

Is Your Numerator Zero? Rodriguez and Attorneys’ Fees in the Appraisal Context

February 8th, 2024 By David L. Plaut

In a recent case grounded in the “plain language” of the appraisal clause of the Texas Homeowners’ insurance policy, the Texas Supreme Court answered a certified question from the Fifth Circuit and held “an insurer’s payment of the full appraisal award plus any possible statutory interest precludes the recovery of attorneys’ fees.  See Cause No. 23-0534, Rodriguez v. Safeco Ins. Co. of Indiana, Slip Op. at *1 (Tex. Feb. 2, 2024).  In so holding, the Court not only resolved a
Read the full article…

Kudos and Congratulations to Us!

October 18th, 2023 By Catherine Hanna

It’s hard to keep up with David Plaut’s accomplishments. He has recently been elected to the American Board of Trial Advocates. ABOTA is a national association of experienced trial lawyers and judges dedicated to the preservation and promotion of the civil jury trial right provided by the Seventh Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. ABOTA membership consists of more than 7,300 lawyers—equally balanced between plaintiff and defense—and judges spread among 96 chapters in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Read the full article…

Honors and Speaking Engagements

October 1st, 2023 By Catherine Hanna

We’re pleased to announce that David Plaut has been named a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America. The Litigation Counsel of America is an invitation-only trial lawyer honorary society that recognizes highly qualified lawyers to provide an outlet for scholarly authorship of legal articles on trial and litigation practice. Membership is limited to 3,500 Fellows, representing less than one-half of one percent of American lawyers. David will be presenting a paper titled Did She Just Say That? Rehabilitation of
Read the full article…

Texas Supreme Court grants a mandamus petition and denies Plaintiff’s attempted counteraffidavit “gotcha.”

May 7th, 2023 By Erin Holmes

Confirming and applying its previous opinion in In re Allstate Indemnity Insurance Co., 622 S.W.3d 870 (Tex. 2021), the Texas Supreme Court granted a Petition for Mandamus in In re Chefs’ Produce of Hous., Inc., ___ S.W.3d ___, 2023 WL ___ (Tex. Apr. 21, 2023) (per curiam) [22-0286], holding that the trial court abused its discretion by striking the counteraffidavits and testimony of Chefs’ Produce’s retained expert because the opinions expressed in a counteraffidavit need not be admissible to provide
Read the full article…

Texas Supreme Court Victory

May 2nd, 2023 By Catherine Hanna

Congratulations to Eric Peabody and David Plaut on their recent 7-1 win in the Texas Supreme Court in Cause No. 21-0513, Ferrer v. Almanza.  In an Opinion by Justice Huddle, the Court held the Texas tolling state – Civil Practice & Remedies Code § 16.063 – did not toll the running of the statute of limitations in a car wreck/personal injury case against a Texas resident who was away at college for a significant part of the applicable limitations period. 
Read the full article…

Unclean hands don’t muddy excess carrier’s subrogation action.

April 17th, 2023 By Jeffrey C. Glass

In a recent decision, a U.S. District Court held a primary insurer could not assert an equitable unclean hands defense against the excess insurer in response to an equitable subrogation claim in a Stowers case. Westport Ins. Corp. v. Pennsylvania Nat’l Mut. Cas. Ins. Co., No. 4:16-CV-01947, 2023 WL 2574982, at *1 (S.D. Tex. Mar. 17, 2023). A marina in north Texas was damaged in a storm after it contracted with Insurance Alliance (IA) to procure full insurance coverage .
Read the full article…

Alex Sheppard is on the rise!

March 27th, 2023 By Catherine Hanna

We’re very proud that Alex Sheppard has been selected to the 2023 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 agree with Thomson Reuters that Alex is an exceptional attorney who embodies excellence in the practice of law. He’s also a really great guy. Congrats to Alex!

Trial Victory

March 12th, 2023 By Catherine Hanna

Congratulations to Sheila Tan and David Plaut for their recent win at trial in a wrongful death case styled Cause No. 20-002074, Mandy Menasco, on Behalf of All Wrongful Death Beneficiaries of Seana Mitchell, Deceased v. Colten Mushinski, 361st District Court, Brazos County, Texas. Plaintiff’s decedent was a 19-year-old girl dragged to her death beneath the pickup truck of her boyfriend (the insured). The tragic facts of this case presented some real challenges for the defense. However, in a 10-2
Read the full article…