Brown Sims Wins Defense Verdict in Hurricane Ike property damage claim against Insurer

April 29

When a farm mutual insurance company became the target of a first-party bad faith and DTPA lawsuit arising from property damages allegedly caused by Hurricane Ike, Brown Sims was retained by insurers to defend the claims. The defense involved establishing that the claimed damages were unrelated to the storm. The Plaintiff sought damages for breach of contract, violations of the Texas Insurance Code, damages for bad faith, and violations of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practice’s Act. The initial demand received from Plaintiff was $561,000.00.

The Brown Sims trial team led by Shareholder Todd Vance and assisted by Associate Casey Armstrong established that the insurance company had complied with the terms of the policy. The jury found that all damages which were actually related to Hurricane Ike had been timely paid to the property owner in the weeks immediately following the storm and that the remainder of the damage being asserted by Plaintiff was the result of a lack of maintenance and/or normal wear and tear to the property. Following the close of evidence and prior to the case being submitted to the jury, Mr. Vance successfully moved the Court to dismiss the majority of Plaintiff’s extra-contractual claims.

The unanimous Harris County, Texas jury found no breach of contract, no violations of the Texas Insurance Code, no insurance bad faith, and no violation of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act. Plaintiff demanded physical property damages, statutory penalties, treble damages, exemplary damages and attorney’s fees. The jury verdict resulted in the client paying nothing more than it had already paid.

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