State Farm victorious in ‘generic’ hail suit brought by Voss Law Firm

By David Yates | Mar 8, 2016

DALLAS - After a half-dozen motions to dismiss for failure to state a claim, an “all-too-common, inadequate generic” hailstorm lawsuit brought against State Farm Lloyds has finally been terminated.


DALLAS - After a half-dozen motions to dismiss for failure to state a claim, an “all-too-common, inadequate generic” hailstorm lawsuit brought against State Farm Lloyds has finally been terminated.

Before filing suit, the Voss Law Firm, founded by Houston-area attorney Bill Voss, sent a demand letter to State Farm, requesting $84,000 in actual damages for their client, Kenneth Graber, and $21,000 for attorney’s fees, court records show.

When the insurer didn’t pay up, Graber filed suit against State Farm on May 3, 2013, in the Judicial District for Dallas County, alleging the company failed to properly compensate him after his property suffered “incredible damage” after a June 2012 hailstorm.

The case was removed to federal court in July 2013 and soon after State Farm filed its first motion to dismiss, arguing that Graber’s “claims are inadequately pled.”

Over the past for years, the Voss Law Firm has come under heavy fire by a slew of former clients claiming inadequate and negligent representation in the handling of their insurance lawsuits.

Graber amended his pleadings twice but five more motions to dismiss followed State Farm’s first, with the latest coming Jan. 14, which accused Graber’s second amended complaint of being the “epitome of the all-too-common, inadequate generic Texas insurance pleading,” court records show.

In a brief to support the motion, State Farm asked the court to dismiss Graber’s pleadings “because, even after multiple opportunities to amend his pleadings,” his surviving claims were still “inadequately pleaded.”

The court had previously granted summary judgment as to Graber’s breach of contract and extra-contractual claims related to the adjustment of the claim, but left open limited claims under the Texas Insurance Code, Deceptive Trade Practices Act and the Prompt Pay Claims Act.

“However, Plaintiff’s pleadings are insufficient to support any of these remaining claims,” the brief reads.

“Specifically, Plaintiff’s Second Amended Complaint continues to contain nothing more than generic recitations of the elements of various causes of action and bare bones regurgitation of sections of the Texas Insurance Code without any factual support that have become all too common in first-party bad-faith litigation.”

State Farm had argued Graber broadly concluded that he did not receive the coverage he had originally contracted with the company but didn’t detail any type of coverage he allegedly failed to receive, making various allegations of misrepresentations without any facts to support them.

“Plaintiff’s ‘facts’ are little more than repetition of statutory language, broad legal conclusions, and attempts to recast his claims for contract damages into something else,” the brief states.

“Here, Plaintiff’s Second Amended Complaint is the epitome of the all-too-common, inadequate generic Texas insurance pleading.”

After every major storm strike in Texas, trial lawyers advertise heavily in the area, and have consequently filed thousands upon thousands of lawsuits on behalf on individuals claiming their insurer failed to fully compensate them over the past several years.

“Even more egregiously, Plaintiff also alleges several types of fraudulent acts and misrepresentations with absolutely no indication of what exactly was false, misleading or misrepresented or the ‘who, what, when, where and how’ required for such allegations,” the brief states.

“These allegations are nothing more than the stock generic pleadings filed in hundreds of cases across Texas.”

On Feb. 18 a joint stipulation of dismissal with prejudice was entered in the record.

Christopher Martin and Ryan, attorneys for the Houston law firm Martin, Disiere, Jefferson & Wisdom Geddie, represented state Farm.

Bryan Beverly of The Voss Law Firm represented Graber.

Case No. 3:13-cv-02671

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