McALLEN – State Farm continued its winning streak against Steve Mostyn on Friday, as a federal judge granted the insurer summary judgment in three more of the Houston lawyer’s hail cases, two of which had fines for contempt issued against local counsel for the plaintiffs.
In all three cases, State Farm had filed motions for summary judgment on July 8, arguing that the company had completed an appraisal process in the respective suits, entitling it to summary judgment as a matter of law on the plaintiffs’ contractual and extra-contractual claims.
Chief U.S. District Judge Ricardo Hinojosa, Southern District of Texas, granted all three motions on Aug. 5, dismissing all claims asserted by the plaintiffs.
A week prior to the rulings, attorneys for the plaintiffs, which includes Mostyn, had filed motions seeking to continue State Farm’s motions for summary judgment, requesting more time to allow plaintiffs to conduct “meaningful and necessary discovery” in order to secure testimony and evidence in opposition of the insurer’s arguments.
In two of the three cases, show of cause hearings were held on June 22, where attorney Gilberto Hinojosa, current chair of the Texas Democratic Party and also plaintiff’s counsel in all three suits, stated his reason for not being present at a previous scheduled hearing, court records show.
The show of cause hearings were scheduled after the plaintiffs failed to appear at a status conference hearing on June 21.
Contempt of court fines in the amount of $50 were issued and paid by the Escobar Law Firm in McAllen.
All three of the lawsuits were originally filed in Hidalgo County District Court in April of 2014, seeking hundreds of thousands of dollars from State Farm for allegedly failing to reimburse the plaintiffs in full for damages caused by the hail storms that struck the area in March and April of 2012, court records show.
The cases were subsequently removed to federal court.
The cases are as follows:
- Thomas and Rosalinda Vaquera v. State Farm et al (7:14-cv-00393);
- Victor Ramirez v. State Farm Lloyds et al (7:14-cv-00457); and
- Mark and Kelly Dizdar v. State Farm Lloyds et al (7:14-cv-00678).
In the Vaquera and Ramirez cases, State Farm was represented by attorneys Brian Chandler and Ronald Schramm of the Houston law firm Ramey, Chandler, Quinn & Zito.
In the Dizdar case, State Farm was represented by Micah Kessler, attorney for the Houston law firm Nistico, Crouch & Kessler.
The plaintiffs in all three suits were represented by Mostyn, Ryan Fowler of Mostyn Law and Gilberto Hinojosa, a Brownsville attorney.