EDINGBURG – At the conclusion of a civil trial in Hidalgo County, The Voss Law Firm ended up securing an award of attorney’s fees that was thousands of dollars more than what jurors awarded to the client it represented.
In March 2014, Ismael Garcia filed suit against USAA Texas Lloyds, alleging the insurer failed to fully compensate him after a hailstorm damaged his Mission home in the spring of 2012, court records show.
Nearly two years after filing, the case went to trial and on Feb. 25 a Hidalgo County jury found USAA failed to pay for any covered damage caused to Garcia’s dwelling, awarding him $10,000 in damages.
The Voss Law Firm recently sent out a press release touting the victory but declined to include any information concerning the actual jury verdict.
According to the charge of the court, jurors concluded Voss Law Firm attorneys were entitled to $18,000 for their representation of Garcia, $8,000 more than what was actually awarded to their client.
The charge further shows jurors found USAA complied with its duty of good faith and fair dealing and did not engage in any unfair or deceptive practices, rejecting all extra-contractual claims and declining to award Garcia any further damages beyond actual damages.
The Voss Law Firm had sought extra damages on the grounds that USAA knowingly committed deceptive acts, such as refusing to pay the claim without conducting a reasonable investigation.
Plaintiff’s attorney Scott Hunziker, a managing partner at Voss Law, did not return a request for comment on the verdict.
The Record also sought to inquire from the firm and their client on how Garcia came to be a Voss client but had no success in reaching either party.
The Voss press release states that its client, whose property is in Mission according to his petition, is a “local police officer.” However, the Mission Police Department told the Record that it did not employ an Ismael Garcia.
Court records show the firm filed a proposed order to enter judgment in favor of Garcia on March 9, seeking to have a final judgment entered that would award Garcia $10,000 in economic damages and $5,850 in statutory pre-judgment penalty interest.
If approved, the Voss Law Firm would also be awarded $18,000 in attorney’s fees and $801.61 for court costs.
On March 17 USAA filed an objection to Garcia’s motion for entry of judgment, arguing that he is not entitled to statutory interest because he did not obtain a finding that USAA failed to comply with subchapter 542 of the Texas Insurance Code.
A hearing on the matter is slated for April 27.
USAA is represented by Jane Bockus and Larissa Fields, attorneys for the San Antonio law firm Dykema Cox Smith.
Case No. C-1590-14-F