Supreme Court of Texas Blog

No. 13-0761
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The Court requested full merits briefing on January 17, 2014. The Court issued an opinion resolving the case on October 31, 2014. File Closed


October 31, 2014


Per Curiam Opinion PDF


Court of Appeals

Appellate District:5th Court of Appeals
Outcome Below:Denied
COA Docket No.:05-13-01088-CV
Opinion Author:Honorable Kerry P. FitzGerald

Trial Court

Trial Court:County Court at Law No 4
Trial Judge:Honorable William Ken Tapscott
Trial Docket:CC-12-06323-D

Entries on SCOTX Orders Lists

Docket Entries

Date Event Outcome  
2015-01-26 Case Stored  
2015-01-26 Certified cys of cost bill sent to attys of record  
  This case was waiting for a possible rehearing motion between October 31, 2014 and January 26, 2015.  
2014-10-31 Opinion issued   Writ of Mandamus conditionally granted
2014-10-31 Motion to strike disposed   Filing dismissed as moot
2014-10-31 MANDAMUS GRANT - 52.8
2014-10-31 Petition for Writ of Mandamus disposed Petition granted pursuant to TRAP 52.8(c)
  This case was pending on merits briefs between May 13, 2014 and October 31, 2014.  
2014-05-13 Reply to Response to Motion (Real Parties in Interest)  
2014-05-09 Reply brief filed (Relator)  
2014-05-09 Response to Motion filed (Relator)  
2014-05-07 Call received (Relator)  
2014-05-06 Motion to Strike filed (Real Parties in Interest)  
2014-04-22 Motion for Extension of Time disposed. (Relator)   Filing granted
2014-04-21 Motion for extension of time to file brief. (Relator)  
2014-04-09 Brief filed (Real Parties in Interest)  
2014-03-20 Motion for extension of time to file brief. (Real Parties in Interest)  
2014-03-20 Motion for Extension of Time disposed. (Real Parties in Interest)   Filing granted
2014-03-07 Notice of Appearance (Relator)  
2014-03-05 Brief filed (Relator)  
2014-02-18 Motion for Extension of Time disposed. (Relator)   Filing granted
2014-02-18 Motion for extension of time to file brief. (Relator)  
2014-02-14 Address Change (Relator)  
2014-01-17 Brief on the Merits Requested  
2014-01-10 Amicus Curiae Brief received  
2014-01-08 Reply to Petition for Writ of Mandamus (Relator)  
2013-12-02 Response to Petition for Writ of Mandamus Filed (Real Parties in Interest)  
2013-11-01 Supreme Court of Texas Requested Response  
2013-10-01 Case forwarded to Court
2013-09-25 Petition for Writ of Mandamus filed (Relator)  


Party Counsel Role
National Lloyds Insurance Company
Mr. Scot Graves Doyen
Mr. Ronald Casey Low
Mr. Scott A. Brister
Mr. Alasdair Roberts
Ms. Martha Hopkins
Erving, Mary
Mr. Joe Williams
Mr. D. Todd Smith
Mr. Maitreya Tomlinson
Real Party In Interest

Amicus Curiae

Amicus Curiae Counsel
Texas Association of Defense Counsel
Mr. Roger W. Hughes

Limits to discovery about how insurance adjusters handled other claims

This petition asked the Court to review a trial court's order that had permitted discovery into the specific claims handled by three insurance adjusters (the ones involved in this case), for a specific area (the one in which the plaintiff's home sat), for a particular storm (the one causing this damage).

The trial court concluded that was narrow enough, and the court of appeals did not disagree.

The Supreme Court held that, even though some attempt had been made to narrow the scope, the result was still too broad. It explained that the request was overbroad because there was not a link between the kind of information that might be uncovered and the plaintiffs' theory that their own claim had been undervalued. It saw too many confounding variables:

[W]e fail to see how National Lloyds’ overpayment, underpayment, or proper payment of the claims of unrelated third parties is probative of its conduct with respect to Erving’s undervaluation claims at issue in this case. This is especially so given the many variables associated with a particular claim, such as when the claim was filed, the condition of the property at the time of filing (including the presence of any preexisting damage), and the type and extent of damage inflicted by the covered event. Scouring claim files in hopes of finding similarly situated claimants whose claims were evaluated differently from Erving’s is at best an “impermissible fishing expedition.”

In a footnote, the Court explained that it was not presenting a blanket rule against all discovery of third-party claims. Instead, it "simply hold[s] that, in this case, on this plaintiff's allegations," the request was too remote.