Latest News


Corporate Depositions and the Personal Knowledge Trap

May 25th, 2020 By Sarah Scott

When entities are defendants in a lawsuit, the deposition process is not quite as easy as it would be for individual fact witnesses. Depositions of organizations are governed by Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 199.2(b)(1), which states that: If an organization is named as the witness, the notice must describe with reasonable particularity the matters on which examination is requested. In response, the organization named in the notice must—a reasonable time before the deposition—designate one or more individuals to testify
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Texas Supreme Court Recognizes Eight-Corners Exception for “Collusive Fraud”

May 3rd, 2020 By David L. Plaut

For the first time, the Texas Supreme Court has recognized an exception to the eight-corners rule and allowed the consideration of “extrinsic evidence” when assessing a carrier’s duty to defend its insured under a liability policy.  In Cause No. 18-0837, Loya Insurance Company v. Osbaldo Hurtado Avalos et al. (Tex. May 1, 2020), the Texas Supreme Court adopted “an exception to the eight-corners rule” finding a trial court “may consider extrinsic evidence regarding whether the insured and a third party
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Show Me the Money? Not So Fast!

April 26th, 2020 By Sheila Tan

In a personal injury case, tort claimants typically submit medical bills showing treatment received for injuries. Settlements paid out of insurance policy benefits are often meant to cover such expenses. After settling, plaintiffs’ attorneys routinely negotiate a reduction of the submitted bills directly with the medical providers, leading to a bigger share of the recovery for their clients.What happens when a carrier pays a hospital’s bill directly? Such direct payments generally reflect a reduction in the original billed amount. We’ve
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Is Eight Enough, Part 3: Texas Supreme Court Rejects District Judge’s Exception to the “Eight Corners Rule”

April 19th, 2020 By Jeffrey C. Glass

We recently wrote about a question, certified to the Texas Supreme Court by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, regarding the continuing validity of the “eight corners” rule.  The U.S. District Court decision under review was one of a series of decisions authored by Judge John McBryde finding that because the eight corners rule originally derived from policy language requiring the carrier to defend claims even “if the allegations of the suit are groundless, false or fraudulent,” policies without such
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Time is on Whose Side? Time-on-the-risk allocation applied over insurer objections.

April 12th, 2020 By Jeffrey C. Glass

In Great Am. Lloyds Ins. Co. v. Vines-Herrin Custom Homes, L.L.C., 05-18-00337-CV, 2020 WL 104622 (Tex. App.—Dallas Jan. 9, 2020, no pet. h.), the Dallas Court held indemnity coverage can be allocated among multiple liability insurers based on each carrier’s time on the risk. The decision does not cite and appears to depart from prior decisions that favor targeted tender and allocation according to subrogation and “other insurance” clauses. See, e.g., CNA Lloyds of Texas v. St. Paul Ins. Co.,
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Requests for Admission: A “Gotcha” Game

April 5th, 2020 By Sarah Scott

After taking on a case, reviewing a file, and drafting initial pleadings, it’s often easy to get a sense of what kind of questions to expect in written discovery. Sometimes, however, the questions can throw you for a loop. For example, requests for admissions can include sweeping accusations such as the following: “Admit that [Defendant] encourages its legal counsel to lay resolution of policy holder lawsuits, file frivolous motions, and impede ongoing efforts at discovery.” Or this one: “Admit that
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It’s A Round-Up, Y’all!

March 29th, 2020 By Lauren Burgess

Ed. Note: At Hanna & Plaut we encourage attorney involvement in practice organizations like the Texas Association of Defense Counsel. We’re also not ashamed to take advantage of the good work they do as part of their responsibilities. Today, we are pleased to present a case round-up that Lauren Burgess prepared as part of her role as a Director-at-Large for TADC. Alcala v. Republic Lloyds, No. 13-18-00026-CV, 2020 WL 830840 (Tex. App.–Corpus Christi Feb. 20, 2020) Holding: Timely payment of
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WEBINAR ALERT

March 21st, 2020 By Catherine Hanna

Catherine will be presenting an Insurance Section Webinar on Wednesday, March 25, 2020 from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. CDT on the hot topic of recent developments in UM/UIM litigation. (Ok, maybe not the hottest topic currently, but let’s be real. Don’t you want to think about something other than Coronavirus for an hour? Plus it’s the perfect CLE for social distancing. You can get without leaving your house!). Shawn Mechler, of the Crosley Law Firm in San Antonio, is
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The View From My Office: How Hanna & Plaut is Handling COVID-19

March 16th, 2020 By Catherine Hanna

In keeping with CDC guidance, Hanna & Plaut attorneys and staff will be working from home for the next two weeks. Many Hanna & Plaut attorneys already work from home several days out of the week so we know that our remote capacity is good and we will be available to handle your cases productively and efficiently. We expect to have a skeleton crew on hand to handle phone calls and filing deadlines, but you can always reach attorneys by
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Happy International Women’s Day

March 9th, 2020 By Catherine Hanna

We’ve come a long way, baby!  Arabella Mansfield became the first female lawyer in the United States when she was admitted to the Iowa bar in 1869. Edith Locke became the first female lawyer in Texas in 1902 and Hortense Ward was the first woman in Texas to be admitted to the United States Supreme Court Bar in 1915. In my first year of law school, I learned that two famous alumni had faced very different career opportunities when they graduated
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