McALLEN – A jury in Hidalgo County, crowned a “Judicial Hellhole” the past two years because of mass hailstorm litigation, recently awarded a hail claimant nearly $1.8 million in damages, saddling an insurance company with $800,000 in exemplary damages alone for allegedly acting with malice.
Through the Mostyn Law Firm, John Griffith filed suit against USAA Texas Lloyd’s, AllCat Claims Service and two adjusters on April 19, 2014 in Hidalgo County District Court.
Griffith alleges his McAllen home was marred by the April 20, 2012 hailstorm that ravaged the area, causing roof and water damage to his property.
He submitted a policy claim and USAA assigned AllCat to adjust.
“The adjusters assigned to Plaintiff’s claim were improperly trained and failed to perform a thorough investigation of Plaintiff’s claim,” the suit states.
“Defendants USAA’s and AllCat’s personnel failed to thoroughly review and properly oversee the work of their assigned adjusters … ultimately approving an improper adjustment and an inadequate, unfair settlement of Plaintiff’s claim. As a result of this unreasonable investigation, Plaintiff was considerably underpaid.”
Court records show the two adjusters were non-suited before the case went to trial earlier this month.
On Feb. 7, the jury found USAA failed to comply with its insurance policy with Griffith, awarding him $70,000 for his dwelling and $6,500 for other structures, according to the charge of the court.
Jurors also found that both USAA and AllCat engaged in deceptive trade practices, awarding another $76,500 for the dwelling and other structures.
Furthermore, the jury found USAA and AllCat’s conduct was committed knowingly, awarding a total of $535,000 in damages.
For allegedly committing fraud, jurors hit USAA with $109,500 in damages.
Lastly, jurors found USAA acted with malice, awarding Griffith $800,000 in exemplary damages.
For their representation in the trial court, Mostyn Law was awarded $114,000 in fees, plus another $85,000 if the case is appealed all the way to the Supreme Court.
Mostyn Law attorney Gregory Cox represents Griffith.
Cause No. C-4459-14-D