Nearly two years after their Hidalgo County home was damaged by a hailstorm, Armando and Aurora Martinez turned to the Mostyn Law Firm in Houston and sued their insurance provider, State Farm Lloyds, alleging breach of contract.
State Farm fought back, filing a motion for summary judgment in June, stating that at no time after the company closed the claim did the couple disagree about the amount paid to them, federal court records show.
On Nov. 24, five months later, U.S. District Judge Micaela Alvarez granted the motion and dismissed the suit prejudice, finding that State Farm complied with policy and “there is no breach of contract.”
Court records show the Martinezes filed suit against State Farm on April 25, 2014, in Hidalgo County District Court, seeking up to $200,000 in damages.
The case was removed to federal court a few months later; and although the couple fought to remand the case, the presiding judge opted to keep the case in the Southern District of Texas, McAllen Division.
According to the lawsuit, the Martinezes’ McAllen home was damaged by the April 2012 hailstorm that ravaged the area. State Farm allegedly undervalued their claim and denied them sufficient payment.
However, State Farm’s motion for summary judgment, filed June 24, paints a different story.
“State Farm paid Plaintiffs Armando Martinez and Aurora Martinez full replacement cost benefits for agreed upon repairs to their dwelling based on Mr. Martinez's confirmation that the repairs had been completed per State Farm's estimate and scope,” the motion states.
“The Martinezes made no claim under the Policy that State Farm did not pay.”
The couple’s home was insured for more than $90,000. On May 14, 2012, a week after the couple reported property loss, State Farm inspected the home, estimating the loss at $10,892.78. That same day, the insurer issued the Martinezes an actual cash value payment for $8,325.08.
“In June 2012, after paying the Martinezes the additional amount they actually spent to repair the damage, State Farm closed the Martinezes' claim. At no time after State Farm closed the claim in June 2012, did the Martinezes indicate to State Farm that they disagreed with the amount of loss determined by State Farm or that there was any damage they were claiming that was not included in the amounts paid by State Farm,” the motion states.
“In fact, when he requested the depreciation, Mr. Martinez represented he would be able to complete all work per State Farm's estimate and scope. State Farm did not hear from the Martinezes until almost two years later, when, on May 21, 2014, without any pre-suit notice or demand, Plaintiffs served State Farm with this lawsuit.”
Plaintiffs’ attorney Steve Mostyn, founder of the Mostyn Law Firm, has made hundreds of millions of dollars suing insurers after major storm strikes in Texas.
State Farm is represented by Ray Ortiz, attorney for the San Antonio law firm Jones, Andrews & Ortiz.
Case No. 7:14-cv-00534