CORPUS CHRISTI APPEALS COURT HOLDS NO AMBIGUITY IN AN INSURANCE POLICY WHERE THE INSURED MUST PAY PREMIUM AS A CONDITION PRECEDENT TO THE INSURANCE CONTRACT GOING INTO EFFECT
In Becerra v. Ball d/b/a Ball Insurance Agency, 2011 WL 3366361 (Tex.App.—Corpus Christi [13th Dist.] 2011), the Corpus Christi-Edinburg Court of Appeals upheld a motion for summary judgment as to Plaintiff’s breach of contract claims against defendants because Plaintiff failed to pay the premium for the policy which was a condition precedent for the policy to go into effect. Plaintiff/Appellant Mark Becerra alleged that an employee of the insurance agency failed to obtain an insurance policy on his behalf. Becerra argued that the terms of the contract were ambiguous and that the ambiguity created a material issue of fact as to when payment was due for the premium. The Appeals Court found no ambiguity in the insurance contract and that payment was necessary for insurance coverage to go into effect. Thus, the court overruled Becerra’s request to overturn the lower court’s dismissal of his breach of contract claims. As to whether the lower court erred in granting motion for summary judgment on Becerra’s negligence claim, the appeals court found that summary judgment was improper where the Defendants/Appellees failed to state any grounds in their motion for which summary judgment could be granted. Specifically, they did not provide any relevant law identifying the “standard of care” or causation requirement or provide any explanation of how the “undisputed facts” conclusively disproved the elements of Plaintiff’s negligence claim.