April 9, 2015

On April 8, 2015, a panel appointed by Texas’ Supreme Court determined that roughly 1600 wind- and hail-damage cases occurring from 2012 to 2014 were appropriate for a new pretrial multidistrict litigation court.  The Plaintiffs made claims against Farmers Insurance involving similar allegations of bad faith business practices.  The panel called the common allegations an “implicit concession” that the cases were related but declined to incorporate at least 25 cases that made no allegations related to a “standardized business practice.”

The three-judge MDL panel is intended to reduce the number of conflicting decisions in similar cases and create efficiency in the handling of common issues litigation.  Plaintiffs have raised concerns about a “perpetual MDL” however, the MDL will not handle cases involving storms that occurred after June 11, 2014.   Briefing regarding the proceeding can be found here.

Wind and hail claims have mushroomed across Texas in recent months.  Some attribute the increase to a budding cottage industry of roofers and public adjusters walking neighborhoods and driving claims to law firms.  Several major bills addressing the proliferation of wind and hail claims are currently pending before the Texas Legislature.  For more information, contact Jay Old.

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