Supreme Court of Texas Blog: Legal Issues Before the Texas Supreme Court

No. 14-0753
TAMES

U.S. METALS, INCORPORATED v. LIBERTY MUTUAL GROUP, INCORPORATED, DOING BUSINESS AS LIBERTY INSURANCE CORPORATION

Oral argument was held on September 2, 2015. The Court issued an opinion resolving the case on December 4, 2015. It then denied rehearing on June 17, 2016 File Closed

In the news...

Tracking 2 articles about this case.

August 31, 2015

Preview of the first September argument sitting

from SCOTXblog

This article also mentions 6 other cases.

The Court has issued opinions:

Opinion

December 4, 2015

Hecht
Green
Johnson
Willett
Guzman
Lehrmann
Boyd
Devine
Brown

Chief Justice Hecht delivered the opinion of the Court. PDF

 

Court of Appeals

None

Trial Court

None

Docket Entries

Date Event Outcome  
2016-06-17 Case Stored  
2016-06-17 Motion for Rehearing - Disposed Denied
2016-06-17 Motion for Rehearing - Disposed Denied
  This case was waiting for a decision about a pending motion for rehearing between February 25, 2016 and June 17, 2016.  
2016-02-25 Amicus Curiae Brief received  
2016-01-20 Case forwarded to Court
2016-01-20 Case forwarded to Court
2016-01-20 Appendix Filed (Appellant in case)  
2016-01-20 Motion for Rehearing  
2016-01-20 Motion for Rehearing for pet #2  
2015-12-18 Motion for Extension of Time to File Motion for Rehearing disposed (Appellant in case)   Filing granted
2015-12-17 Motion for Extension of Time to File Motion for Rehearing (Appellee in case)  
2015-12-17 Motion for Extension of Time to File Motion for Rehearing (Appellant in case)  
2015-12-17 Motion for Extension of Time to File Motion for Rehearing disposed (Appellee in case)   Filing granted
2015-12-04 Opinion issued   Certified question answered by the Court
2015-11-19 Response to Amicus Curiae Brief filed (Appellee in case)  
2015-10-30 Response to Amicus Curiae Brief filed (Appellee in case)  
  This case was awaiting the Court's decision after oral argument between September 2, 2015 and October 30, 2015.  
2015-09-02 Oral argument  
2015-08-28 Exhibits in case/cause filed (Appellant in case)  
2015-07-31 Amicus Curiae Brief received  
2015-07-16 Oral Argument Submission Form from Attorney received (Respondent)  
2015-07-15 Oral Argument Submission Form from Attorney received (Petitioner)  
2015-07-03 Case set for oral argument   Case set for oral argument
2015-06-22 Amicus Curiae Brief received  
  This case was waiting for oral argument between April 24, 2015 and June 22, 2015.  
2015-04-24 Amicus Curiae Brief received  
2015-04-24 Notice of Appearance  
2015-03-26 Reply Brief (Appellant in case)  
2015-03-12 Brief on the Merits (Appellee in case)  
2015-02-10 Motion for Extension of Time disposed. (Respondent)   Filing granted
2015-02-09 Motion for extension of time to file brief. (Appellee in case)  
2015-01-09 Motion for Extension of Time disposed. (Petitioner)   Filing granted
2015-01-08 Motion for extension of time to file brief. (Appellee in case)  
2014-12-19 Brief on the Merits (Appellant in case)  
2014-11-17 Motion for Extension of Time disposed. (Appellant in case)   Filing granted
2014-11-14 Motion for extension of time to file brief. (Appellant in case)  
2014-10-21 Motion for Extension of Time disposed. (Appellant in case)   Filing granted
2014-10-20 Motion for extension of time to file brief. (Appellant in case)  
2014-09-26 Certified Question disposed   Certified Question accepted
2014-09-26 Certified Question accepted
2014-09-26 Brief on the Merits Requested  
2014-09-23 Notice requesting filing fee  
2014-09-19 Certified Question filed  
2014-09-19 Case Record Filed  

Parties

Party Counsel Role
LIBERTY MUTUAL GROUP, INCORPORATED
Mr. Levon G. Hovnatanian
Mr. Christopher W. Martin
Mr. Bruce E. Ramage
Appellee
U.S. METALS, INCORPORATED
Mr. Lance R. Bremer
Mr. Graig J. Alvarez
Mr. Ryan Matthew Perdue
Appellant

Amici Curiae

Amicus Curiae Counsel
Mutual Casualty Company
Mr. Aaron L. Mitchell
Mid-Continent Casualty Company
Mr. R. Brent Cooper
Robert J. Witmeyer
American Insurance Association
Adam Pierson
Matthew Nickel
Richard D. Salgado
Property Casualty Insurers Association of America
Adam Pierson
Matthew Nickel
Richard D. Salgado
United Policyholders
Jennifer Lynn Dotson
American Subcontractors Association, Inc.
Mr. Patrick J. Wielinski
Associated General Contractors of America
Mr. Patrick J. Wielinski
ASA of Texas, Inc.
Mr. Patrick J. Wielinski
Texas Building Branch – Associated General Contractors of America
Mr. Patrick J. Wielinski
ABC of Texas
Mr. Patrick J. Wielinski

Does common language in a CGL policy have an ambiguity about coverage for product defects?

insurance

This suit grows from an unsatisfied customer of US Metals. Exxon bought and installed 350 pieces of drilling equipment (well neck flanges) but then later determined that they were the source of some problems, requiring the equipment — which had been installed by being welded in among other heavy equipment — to be removed at substantial cost, both in terms of raw expense and lost production during the time that the wells were not operating.

US Metals held a commercial general liability insurance policy that protected it against claims for "property damage" and "bodily injury."

But US Metals's insurer refused to cover the defense of this claim, citing certain exclusions related to damage caused by deficiencies related to "your [the insured's] product", as well as certain types of damage claims for "impaired property."

The Fifth Circuit has now asked the Texas Supreme Court to address, as a question of Texas law, whether two of the pivotal terms in the contract language defining this exclusion ("physical injury" and "replacement") are ambiguous and, if not, what they mean under Texas insurance law.

In making this request, the Fifth Circuit emphasized its view that this was a question of potentially broad importance:

The Texas Supreme Court’s interpretation of these terms will have far-reaching implications due to the commonality of these exclusions within CGL policies. As such, the answer to our certified questions will affect a large number of litigants. No Texas court or any other state or circuit court has determined whether the terms "physical injury" or "replacement" found within the "your property" and "impaired property" exclusions are ambiguous.

This legal point will now be briefed in the Texas Supreme Court, and the case will most likely be heard at oral argument next spring. You can read more details in the Fifth Circuit's opinion certifying the question.

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