COURT REJECTS EFFORTS TO SIMPLY REFER TO RESPONSE TO PRIOR MOTION IN OPPOSITION TO LATER NO-EVIDENCE MOTION – SUMMARY JUDGMENT AFFIRMED
Last Wednesday, the San Antonio Court of Appeals affirmed a no-evidence summary judgment in favor of the insurer after rejecting the insured’s efforts to argue evidence referenced in a prior response to a traditional motion for summary judgment. In Sadler v. Texas Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Companies, 2013 WL 4736392 (Tex.App.-San Antonio, September 4, 2013), the insureds sought coverage after crashing their vehicle into their home’s garage, asserting that the agent assured them that the policy would cover “anything that happened on their property or to their house.” The claim was denied and this lawsuit followed.
In response to a traditional motion for summary judgment, the trial court denied the motion and the insureds agreed to drop their breach of contract claim and replead their DTPA claims. They did and the insurer then filed a no-evidence motion for summary judgment. The insureds failed to file a response, and instead, reportedly referred to their prior response and, claimed judicial admissions in the no-evidence motion were sufficient to preclude summary judgment. The trial court granted the insurer’s motion and this appeal followed.
On appeal, the court rejected the insureds’ arguments regarding the prior response, noting that a timely response must be filed. And, the alleged judicial admissions provided no evidence in opposition to the no-evidence motion. Further, there was no evidence in the record that the insureds notified the court that they intended to rely on their previous response and, that the court was not required to search the record without more specific guidance or incorporating the prior evidence or response by reference. Accordingly, the court found that the insureds failed to meet their burden to “produce more than a scintilla of evidence raising a genuine issue of material fact” and summary judgment in favor of the insurer was affirmed.