State Farm lands summary judgment win in Mostyn Law hail suit

By David Yates | Mar 14, 2017

DALLAS - State Farm Lloyds recently secured another summary judgment win in a hailstorm lawsuit brought through the Mostyn Law Firm.

For the past several years, State Farm has been successfully battling hailstorm litigation, an issue once again taken up by the Texas Legislature this session.

Seeking up to $1 million in damages, plaintiffs Carlos and Lydia Vejar filed suit against State Farm and an adjuster in June 2014, alleging the defendants underpaid them for damages caused by a hailstorm two years earlier.

According to an amended petition, on June 13, 2012, a hailstorm struck Dallas County, causing extensive damage throughout the area, including the Vejars' home.

The couple submitted a claim to State Farm for roof, structural, water and wind damage. An adjuster, who according to the suit was not properly trained, spent 20 to 30 minutes inspecting the property.

"Together, Defendants ... set about to deny and/or underpay properly covered damages," the suit states. "State Farm wrongfully denied Plaintiffs' claim for repairs of the property, even though the policy provided coverage."

The Vegars accused State Farm of Texas Insurance Code violations, fraud and breach of contract.

On Jan. 12, State Farm moved for summary judgment, arguing that because an appraisal had been completed and paid, it was entitled to summary judgment on the couple's contractual and extra-contractual claims, court records show.

The trial court had severed the plaintiffs' extra-contractual claims a year earlier.

According to the motion for summary judgment, State Farm estimated the damage to the Vejars' dwelling at nearly $8,000. The insurer subtracted the deductible and paid the remaining money to the couple. And then, without any pre-suit notice or demand, the Vejars filed suit.

Court records show the plaintiffs had invoked the appraisal provision of their homeowner's policy during the litigation and an appraiser set the amount of loss at $17,227.89, which State Farm paid, minus depreciation, prior payments and the deductible.

"State Farm timey paid the award and there are no remaining issues regarding damages or liability," states the summary judgment motion.

On Feb. 24, the plaintiffs replied to the motion, arguing that the "suit is about much more than a dispute over the amount of damages" and the motion should be denied.

The matter was set for hearing and on March 3 the trial court found that the motion "is well-founded and should be, and is in all respects, GRANTED," ordering that the plaintiffs take nothing.

Steve Mostyn represented the plaintiffs.

State Farm was represented by Sedgwick LLP attorneys Neil Ramblin, Scott Brinkerhoff and Kristen Broyles

Filed in Dallas County District Court, cause No. DC-14-05874

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