August 22, 2011

Last week, a jury in a Dallas federal court found State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company did not breach its policy and did not commit unfair claims settlement practices under Article 542 of the Texas Insurance Code in handling an alleged theft and fire claim under its auto policy with the insured.  In Nunn v. State Farm Mutual Automobile insurance Company, No. 3:08-CV-1486-D, the insured sued State Farm alleging a host of contractual and extra-contractual claims arising out of State Farm’s refusal to pay for damages to an expensive Range Rover allegedly caused by the theft and attempted burning of the vehicle in June 2007.  Prior to trial, all but one of the extra-contractual claims were dismissed through dispositive motions.  The jury trial focused on the insured’s claims of breach of contract and inappropriate claims handling delays by State Farm.  State Farm defended the case alleging the insured made material misrepresentations in the claims investigation, the insured failed to fully cooperate in the claims investigation, and a person seeking coverage (the insured’s adult daughter) was involved in the alleged theft and fire to the vehicle.  After a week-long trial, the jury found State Farm did not breach the contract and did not commit any unfair claim settlement practices.  After the jury rendered its verdict, Judge Sidney Fitzwater promptly entered judgment in favor of State Farm.

Chris Martin, Debbie Rank and Vasilia Wilkes of our firm had the privilege of representing State Farm in this case.  We congratulate State Farm on this victory, appreciate its willingness to take the case to trial, and recognize the invaluable assistance provided by its SIU team during the claim and the trial of this matter.