Latest News


Hanna & Plaut’s Catherine Hanna Speaking at Advanced Insurance Law Seminar

June 24th, 2018 By Catherine Hanna

It’s not too late to register for the Insurance Law Section’s Advanced Insurance Law Seminar on June 28-29 in San Antonio. Lots of great topics and a great chance to mix and mingle with insurance practitioners on both sides of the bar. The seminar will be held at the fabulous Hyatt Hill Country Resort & Spa. Lazy River anyone? On Friday, Catherine will be presenting on Attacking and Defending Appraisal Awards with policyholder attorney Matthew Pearson. Hope to see you there!
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Menchaca on Rehearing: Simpler than it Seems!

April 13th, 2018 By David L. Plaut

The opinion on rehearing in Menchaca came out today.  What initially seems like a daunting read, with Justice Boyd authoring the 65-page plurality opinion, is actually quite clear.  A majority of the Court unanimously reaffirmed the legal principles of the prior Menchaca opinion and agreed to reverse the policyholder’s judgment on her Hurricane Ike/homeowner’s claim and to remand for a new trial.  Slip op. at *1.  The debate between the justices on rehearing – with plurality, concurring, and dissenting opinions
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Fifth Circuit Further Expands Additional Insured Coverage for General Contractors

February 5th, 2018 By Eric S. Peabody

In December 2017, the Fifth Circuit gave general contractors an early holiday gift wrapped in the opinion styled Lyda Swinerton Builders, Inc. v. Oklahoma Surety Co., 877 F.3d 600 (2017).  Swinerton was hired in 2003 as the general contractor on a ten-story office building in College Station, Texas, and contracted with several subs, including A.D. Willis Company, whose scope of work was identified in the subcontract as “ROOFING, ORNAMENTAL METAL, METAL WALL PANELS, And ROUGH CARPENTRY.”  Id. at 605. The
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More on Harvey

September 1st, 2017 By Catherine Hanna

Please join Bill Chriss and Catherine Hanna on Tuesday morning at 10:00 a.m. Central time for a State Bar sponsored webcast as we discuss the new legislation affecting property insurance claims, as well as legal and practical pointers for handling or defending hurricane, flood, and other catastrophe claims. The Texas State Bar is offering this webcast for free. You can register here:


Hurricanes and Hailstorms – What’s New and What’s True

August 31st, 2017 By Catherine Hanna

We’ve seen some misinformation floating around regarding the effect of the recent Hailstorm Bill on insurance claims. The Hailstorm Bill applies to all claims for property damage caused by forces of nature, including earthquake, earth tremor, wildfire, flood, tornado, lightning, hurricane, hail, wind, snowstorm, or rainstorm. The new legislation will apply to lawsuits filed on or after September 1, 2017. Although all major provisions of the Hailstorm Bill apply to suits filed on or after September 1, 2017, the change
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Hurricane Harvey Hits Home

August 28th, 2017 By Catherine Hanna

It’s been a soggy weekend here in Central Texas, but our thoughts and prayers are with our friends, family, and colleagues on the Texas coast and in the Houston area as they deal with the devastation of the hurricane and the horrific flooding that Houston continues to experience. We are heartened by the response of our fellow Texans, as first-responders and civilians risk life and limb to help those in need of rescue. We know that this is a scary
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Menchaca At Work: Houston Court Strengthens Appraisal Defenses, Requires Independent Injury for EC Claims

July 11th, 2017 By Eric S. Peabody

Even before the dust has settled on the Texas Supreme Court’s decision in USAA v. Menchaca, — S.W.3d —, 2017 WL 1311752 (Tex. Apr. 7, 2017, mot. reh’g filed), Texas intermediate appellate courts are busily construing its holdings. In National Security Fire & Casualty Co. v. Hurst, No. 14-15-00714-CV, 2017 WL 2258243 (Houston [14th Dist.] May 23, 2017, n.p.h.), the court used Menchaca to reverse a judgment in favor of the insured and render judgment for the carrier in a
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Great American Ins. Co. v. Hamel: The “Fully Adversarial Trial” On Trial

June 27th, 2017 By Jeffrey C. Glass

In the much-anticipated Hamel decision, the Texas Supreme Court finally addressed the definition of a “fully adversarial trial” under the Gandy rule, holding that a reviewing court must focus on the insured’s incentives to contest liability, rather than on retroactive evaluation of tactical trial details.   Great American Ins. Co., et al v. Hamel, — S.W.3d –, No. 14-1007, 2017 WL 2623067  (Tex. June 16, 2017) (citing State Farm Fire & Casualty Co. v. Gandy, 925 S.W.2d 696, 714 (Tex. 1996)). The decision
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Texas Senate Passes Hail Reform Legislation

May 17th, 2017 By Catherine Hanna

The Texas Senate has tentatively approved, by a vote of 21-8,  House Bill 1774, the hail reform bill we first discussed back in February of this year. Key provisions of the bill include: Limit applicability of claims under both DTPA in Business and Commerce Code and Ins. Code Limit insurer liability under chapter 542 to damages for delays in payment and not simply any violation of the prompt payment provisions. Changes penalty interest amount from 18% to judgment interest rate
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Hail Reform Bill Passes House

May 5th, 2017 By Catherine Hanna

Yesterday, the Texas House of Representatives gave initial passage by a vote of 91-55 to approve House Bill 1774. Texas Tribune has the run-down here and you can find more coverage in the SE Texas Record.