FEDERAL COURT DISMISSES CLAIMS AGAINST ADJUSTER & DENIES INSURED'S MOTION TO REMAND
Last Monday, a federal District Court judge in the Northern District of Texas denied the homeowner's motion to remand a wind/hail lawsuit against the insurer and adjuster after finding the claims against the adjuster should be dismissed. In Aguilar v. State Farm Lloyds, 2015 WL 5714654 (N.D.Tex. - Ft. Worth, Sept. 28, 2015), the insured was dissatisfied with the adjustment of their claim for wind and hail damage and filed a lawsuit in state court against State Farm and the adjuster alleging fraud, conspiracy and violations of the Texas Insurance Code. State Farm removed the lawsuit to federal court asserting the adjuster was improperly joined. The insured then sought to have the case remanded.
In a well reasoned and concise opinion, Judge McBride observed: "Although the complaint goes on for page after page, it is clear that plaintiff's claims arise out of the insurer's alleged breach of duty to her and the insurer's denial of her claim." The court noted that adjustors have no contractual relationship with the insured and do not owe a common law duty of good faith and fair dealing. Further, any cause of action under the Texas Insurance Code must be based on an act prohibited by statute and not simply based on the insurer's denial of coverage. Lastly, "post-loss statements regarding coverage are not misrepresentations under the Insurance Code." Based on case law setting forth these concepts, the court found no plausible claims against the adjustor, denied the motion to remand and dismissed the claims against the adjuster.