TWO-YEAR STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS BARS EXTRA-CONTRACTUAL CLAIMS AGAINST INSURER

January 16, 2012

Recently, a federal court in the Southern District of Texas determined the two-year statute of limitations barred an insured from bringing extra-contractual claims against the insurer.  In Painter Family Investments, LTD., L.L.P. v. Underwriters at Lloyds, Syndicate 4242, 2011 WL 6755839 (S.D.Tex., Dec. 23, 2011), the insured’s property was damaged by Hurricane Dolly.  The insured had two separate policies issued by two separate insurers.  Both insurers addressed the claim but only one insurer was sued when the lawsuit arose.  The second insurer was not added until two years after its claim-decision letter to the insured was issued.  The court rejected the insured’s argument that the relation-back doctrine should apply because the suits did not involve the same series of events, transactions or occurrences.  The court also noted that the amended complaint naming the second insurer had been filed without leave of court and no leave had been requested as of the date of the opinion.  The court, therefore, dismissed the extra- contractual claims as barred by the statute of limitations.