TLSS Attorneys Mark Wolfe, James Eastham, and Kate Dempster Obtain Summary Judgment in Texas

TLSS has obtained summary judgment on behalf of Alterra Excess & Surplus Insurance Company and Engle Martin in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas.

Plaintiff sought an adjudication of coverage for a claim of alleged water damage to commercial property. After investigating, Alterra denied coverage on the grounds that the claimed interior damage was not caused by a storm, the roof did not show evidence of wind damage, and the leaks appeared to be an ongoing issue.  Plaintiff then sold the property for a profit without having repaired the alleged storm damage.  One month later, Plaintiff filed suit against Alterra and Alterra’s third-party administrator, Engle Martin, alleging that the storm damage arose from a covered cause of loss under the policy. The suit also asserted bad faith as well as multiple violations of the Texas Insurance Code.

After conducting written and oral discovery, TLSS filed two motions for summary judgment, one on behalf of Engle Martin individually, and a second on behalf of both defendants. In the first motion, TLSS argued that plaintiff had no claim for breach of fiduciary duty against Engle Martin, a stranger to the insurance contract.  TLSS further argued that Sections 541 and 542 of the Insurance Code do not apply to third-party adjusters. In the second motion on behalf of both defendants, TLSS argued that plaintiff failed to present evidence that the property sustained damage from a covered cause of loss during the policy period.

Both motions for summary judgment were granted.  Song v. Alterra Excess & Surplus Ins. Co., Case No. 7:12-cv-00118.