INSURER WINS SUMMARY JUDGMENT ON HOMEOWNER WIND/HAIL CLAIMS
Recently, in Stevenson v. Nationwide Property and Cas. Ins. Co., 3:12-CV-4564-L, 2014 WL 1356504 (N.D. Tex. April 7, 2014), Federal District Judge Sam A. Lindsay granted Nationwide Property and Casualty Insurance Company’s motion for summary judgment on a claim for water, hail, windstorm and mold damage arising out of strong storms and tornadoes. The insured contended the Nationwide’s adjuster failed to properly adjust the claim, denied a portion of the claim without an adequate investigation and failed to compensate the insured adequately under her insurance policy. They also claimed Nationwide misrepresented that her damages were not covered, failed to explain to her its reason for offering an inadequate settlement and failed to affirm or deny coverage of her claim within a reasonable time. Nationwide removed the case to federal district court and filed a motion for summary judgment which the Court ultimately granted.
The Court noted that the Nationwide’s motion for summary judgment argued that they paid over $150,000 in policy proceeds on the claim and that “no genuine dispute of material fact exists as to any additional amount that is due or owed.” The Court further noted that the insured never filed a response to the motion for summary judgment and that the burden of producing evidence opposing a no evidence summary judgment rests with the Plaintiff. However, the Court could not procedurally enter a “default” summary judgment.
The Court granted the no evidence summary judgment because “a court, however, is permitted to accept the movant’s facts as undisputed when no response or opposition is filed.” Herein, the Court accepted Nationwide’s “facts and evidence as undisputed.” “Nationwide … contends there is no genuine dispute of material fact regarding any additional amount that is due or owed to Plaintiff. In other words, Defendant acknowledges that it paid a portion of the claim and did not pay some parts of the claim. Therefore, from what the court can ascertain, there is no dispute that defendant has not paid all that Plaintiff requested.” On the other hand, “Plaintiff did not file a response indicating the amount that she believes would lead to full compensation and, therefore, she has filed nothing to dispute Defendant pointing out the absence of evidence to support her claims.” ‘Therefore, Defendant’s motion for summary judgment will be granted, as there is no genuine dispute of material fact regarding any of Plaintiff’s claims.”