The Texas Supreme Court recently ruled in a UM/UIM insurance case that a deposition of an insurance carrier’s corporate representative is allowed but limited to issues related to the case.
The opinion was drafted by Justice Debra Lehrmann, who acknowledged that individuals are allowed to solicit testimony from corporate representatives regarding damages; however, insurance carriers are not required to provide any information that is privileged or beyond the scope of the issues.
The decision stems from a case against USAA after its customer, Frank Wearden, sued the company for breach of contract and declaratory judgment to recover UM/UIM benefits. Mr. Wearden notified the company of his plans to depose a corporate representative and provided a list of questions.
USAA filed a motion to stop the deposition, which the trial court and the court of appeals denied.
Justice Lehrmann reiterated multiple times in her opinion that extracontractual claims under existing case law (the In re State Farm case) should be severed and abated from the underlying case and related testimony is not proper for a corporate representative deposition.
The Texas Supreme Court granted USAA’s writ of mandamus in part regarding the topics in the deposition that did not relate to the actual case.
The case is Supreme Court of Texas, No. 20-0281, IN RE USAA GENERAL INDEMNITY COMPANY, RELATOR.