SAN ANTONIO FEDERAL COURT STANDS ON DISMISSAL OF ALL CLAIMS IN FIRE CASE
A Federal District Court in San Antonio recently refused to reconsider its prior grant of summary judgment in an insurer’s favor on a residential fire case. In McClelland v. Chubb Lloyds Ins. Co., No. 5:16-CV-00108, 2017 WL 3909614 (Sep. 6, 2017), a fire destroyed the McClellands’ garage. After being paid approximately $213,000 to rebuild the garage from the slab up, the McClellands opted to build a significantly larger garage and sued Chubb for not paying the full cost of rebuilding the larger garage. The court granted summary judgment for Chubb because the policy only covered reconstruction costs for a structure of like design and quality, and the McClellands had not presented evidence on what that would cost – they only presented evidence of the cost to build a larger garage. After the summary judgment was granted in Chubb’s favor, the McClellands moved to alter or amend it under the Federal rules.
In an opinion highlighting the stringent threshold for reconsideration of rulings in federal court, the court concluded the McClellands had not established there was either significant new evidence that was not previously available to them in the exercise of due diligence or an intervening change in the law, and declined to revisit the summary judgment merely because counsel thought of a different way to argue the case.