AUSTIN – A Texas hail attorney who has already had his law license suspended for a year is now facing criminal charges.
According to a Tarrant County criminal docket, Edinburg attorney Kent Livesay has a bond hearing June 9. The offense – engaging in organized crime.
Livesay, the third-highest filer of weather-related lawsuits in Texas, was indicted by a grand jury for fraud related to lawsuits filed from 2014 to 2016 against insurance companies without the homeowners’ knowledge or consent, according to a Texans Against Lawsuit Abuse press release.
The indictment is the result of an investigation by the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) Fraud Unit that uncovered evidence of organized criminal activity, legal misconduct and insurance fraud by Livesay.
“Texans are fed up with storm-chasing lawyers bending – and in some cases – breaking the rules to line their pockets, while families and businesses pay the price through rising insurance costs or lost coverage,” TLR Communications Director Lucy Nashed said.
Since 2012, a group of storm-chasing lawyers has filed more than 36,000 lawsuits across the state, the press release states.
In a report to the Legislature, TDI found a 1,400 percent increase in litigation since 2012, which has resulted in 12 companies raising rates for homeowners’ insurance and seven companies reducing, limiting or stopping coverage in Texas altogether.
In November, Livesay agreed to a one-year suspension for demanding damages from an insurance company on behalf of a client he did not represent
Seeking a judgment of professional misconduct, the Commission for Lawyer Discipline, an arm of the State Bar of Texas, had filed a disciplinary petition against attorney Livesay on Aug. 8 in Hidalgo County, arguably the birthplace of mass hailstorm litigation.
Attorneys engaging in barratry to drum up litigation after major weather events was one of the motivating factors behind the legislature passing hailstorm lawsuit reform this session.
The criminal docket shows that the prosecutor in the case is William Wallace.
The defense attorney is Jeff Kearney.
Case No. 1500506