HOUSTON – State Farm Lloyds recently secured another victory in its continued efforts to fight hailstorm lawsuits, which have been filed in mass against insurers in Texas since 2012.
Seeking more than $100,000 but less than $1 million in damages, plaintiffs Dwayne and Dawn Chapman filed suit against State Farm and two of its adjusters, Bruce White and John Hogan, on Oct. 29, 2014 in Harris County District Court.
The case went to trial in mid June and lasted a week, with jurors returning a 10-2 verdict in favor of State Farm.
The Chapmans have been State Farm customers for more than 25 years. On Oct. 27, 2013, a hailstorm damaged their Kingwood home, prompting them to file a claim under their policy, according to their petition.
White was assigned to adjust the claim.
In their suit, the Chapmans accused him of conducting a substandard investigation, spending less than 20 minutes evaluating the damage.
White found the couple sustained no significant damage as a result of the storm and no payment was issued for the roof.
He did, however, determined there was covered interior damage to the home’s ceilings in four rooms.
“Because the plaintiffs did not understand how White reconciled his position that there was insufficient exterior damage, but there was covered damage to the interior from water that entered from the exterior, plaintiffs requested a second inspection of the property,” the suit states.
State Farm assigned Hogan who “essentially buttressed White’s original conclusion,” the suit states.
Jurors were asked to determine whether State Farm failed to comply with the contract with regard to the Chapmans’ claim, to which they answered: “No,” according to the charge of the court, filed June 24.
No damages were awarded.
A few months before the trial, on Feb. 8 the court granted State Farm’s no-evidence motion for summary judgment as to all of the couple’s extra-contractual claims.
On Feb. 25 the couple amended their petition, dropping all claims except breach of contract.
The Chapmans are represented by Houston attorney Bryant Fitts.
Lead counsel for State Farm is Dale “Rett” Holidy, attorney for the Houston firm Germer PLLC.
Case No. 2014-63815