The Halloween edition of the Texas Supreme Court orders includes one opinion. You can access the entire order list here.
The Court issued its opinion in No. 13-0761, In re National Lloyds Insurance Company. This petition for a writ of mandamus was not argued; the court has issued a per curiam opinion under Rule 52.8(c). The mandamus petition arises from a discovery order in a bad-faith insurance dispute. The insured homeowner contends that the insurance company underpaid her claims for damage to her home following two storms in the City of Cedar Hill. The homeowner sought discovery of all claim files for the prior six years involving the individual adjusters on her claims and for the prior year in Dallas County and Tarrant County involving the two adjusting firms on her claims. The trial court limited the scope to claims in which the two adjusting firms were involved that arose in Cedar Hill from the same two storms that damaged the plaintiff's property. The Supreme Court held that discovery of all claim files arising from the same storms was an "impermissible fishing expedition." The Court reasoned that the insurance company's underpayment, overpayment, or correct payment to unrelated third parties is irrelevant to the plaintiff's claim here, in light of "many variables" in the claims, such as when the claim was filed, the condition of the property before the storm, and the type and extent of damage from the storm. Thus, the Court found that the discovery order was too broad and conditionally granted the writ. Read the entire opinion here.
The Court also granted a voluntary motion to dismiss pursuant to settlement in No. 13-0953, In re Magnum Hunter Resources. The Court recently set this mandamus petition for oral argument. It arose from a dispute over production of reserve reports. Our prior coverage of the case is here. The parties apparently settled the underlying dispute, which mooted the request for the documents.
- Rich Phillips, Thompson & Knight LLP