Fifth Circuit Reverses Summary Judgment Award to Insurer on Hurricane Damage Claim

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The district court's decision to grant summary judgment was reversed.

December 18, 2022
Tred R. Eyerly - Insurance Law Hawaii

The Fifth Circuit reversed the district court's grant of summary judgment to the insurer on a property damage claim arising from Hurricane Harvey. Advanced Indicator and Manufacturing, Inc. v. Acadia Ins. Co., 50 F.4th 469 (2022).

After Hurricane Harvey struck southern Texas in 2017, Advanced submitted a claim to Acadia for damage to its building that it claimed was caused by the hurricane's winds. Acadia sent an adjuster, Nick Warren, as well as an engineer, Jason Watson. Watson determined that pre-existing conditions - including ongoing leaks from deterioration and poor workmanship - caused the damage, rather than winds from Hurricane Harvey. Warren adopted these conclusions in his recommendations to Acadia. Acadia denied Advanced's claim based on these reports.

Advanced sued Acadia, alleging breach of contract and bad faith. Advanced filed a motion to remand to state court which was denied. Acadia moved for summary judgment arguing that it did not breach the policy and that Advanced could not segregate any damages caused by hurricane from pre-existing damage. The district court granted Acadia's motion, finding that Acadia's denial of Advanced's claim was based on "extensive consideration of the evidence." Further, Advanced failed to carry its burden of showing that covered and non-covered damages could be segregated as required by Texas's concurrent causation doctrine. Finally, the bad faith claim was dismissed because there was no breach of contract.

Mr. Eyerly may be contacted at te@hawaiilawyer.com



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