5th Court of Appeals in Dallas Sides With Insurance Company in Uninsured Motorists Dispute

Perry Law P.C. secured a win for an insurance company defendant after the 5th Court of Appeals in Dallas ordered a lower court to reverse its ruling in a dispute over uninsured motorist coverage benefits.

The appeals court granted a writ of mandamus to GEICO and directed the trial court to vacate its March 25, 2021, order that denied GEICO’s motion to sever and abate extracontractual claims in the case.

The ruling stems from a personal injury lawsuit filed by GEICO-insured driver Ryan Brown to recover benefits from his policy after he was injured in a car accident caused by an uninsured driver. GEICO offered a settlement prior to the suit. Brown rejected it and sued GEICO, making an uninsured motorist (UM) claim as a declaratory judgment. He also sued for breach of contract, bad faith and deceptive practices. The insurance company filed a motion with the trial court to sever and abate Brown’s extracontractual claims, and it was denied.

GEICO filed its writ of mandamus, and the appellate court agreed, citing a Texas Supreme Court case in finding that Brown had not yet established his right to recover damages under his policy and that liability of the UM claim had not been judicially determined, leaving the extracontractual claims premature.

Brown had argued that the Texas Supreme Court case was not applicable, because that case involved an underinsured, rather than uninsured, motorist. The Dallas appeals court determined the case was applicable to both underinsured and uninsured motorists.

The case is In re GEICO County Mutual Insurance Company, No. 05-21-00226-CV, in the Court of Appeals Fifth District of Texas at Dallas.