DALLAS FEDERAL COURT TACKLES ANOTHER CONCURRENT CAUSATION ISSUE
This week, the United States District Court of the Northern District of Texas added another case to the list of parties and onlookers anxiously awaiting the Supreme Court of Texas’s forthcoming ruling on concurrent causation. In Garcia v. State Farm Lloyds, 2022 WL 4349547 (N.D. Tex. September 19, 2022), John Garcia sued his property insurer, State Farm, to recover for alleged wind and hail damage. State Farm moved for summary judgment, arguing Garcia failed to specify what damages on his roof were caused by wear and deterioration in contrast to what was caused by the hailstorm. The Court noted that this squarely implicated the Supreme Court of Texas’ certified questions from Overstreet v. Allstate Vehicle and Property Insurance Co., 34 F.4th 496 (5th Cir. 2022). In Overstreet, the Fifth Circuit certified to, and is currently awaiting answers to three questions from, the Supreme Court of Texas:
- Does the concurrent cause doctrine apply where there is any non-covered damage, including wear-and-tear to an insured party’s property, but such damage does not directly cause the particular loss eventually experienced by the insured party?
- If so, does the insured’s allegation that its loss was entirely caused by a single, covered peril bear the burden of attributing losses between that peril and other non-covered perils that the insured contends did not cause the particular loss?
- If so, can the insured meet that burden with evidence indicating that the covered peril caused the entirety of the loss?
For now, the Court denied State Farm’s summary judgment motion, noting that there is some evidence in the record that wind and hail caused the entirety of Garcia’s loss—though the parties were directed to file a status report within 14 days of the Overstreet decision.
Editor’s Note: This case serves as one of many in which Texas insureds, insurers, attorneys, and judges are in a holding pattern awaiting the Overstreet decision.