INSURANCE JOURNAL – By Meloney Perry | July 15, 2019 – Insurance companies should take note of a recent ruling by the Supreme Court of Texas that closes a “trapdoor” pretrial discovery gambit by plaintiffs’ lawyers that exposed defendants to sanctions for denying negligence in pretrial requests for admissions and then later conceding negligence at trial.
The ruling in Medina v. Zuniga is particularly significant for insurance companies and adjusters whose insurance policies cover damages in car accident cases. The ruling sends a message that when defendants are faced with these requests, also known as merits-preclusive requests, they can defend their cases without the fear of being sanctioned. While it may be standard practice to request a party to admit to negligence in bodily injury cases in Texas, the Texas Supreme Court ruled such requests for admissions are no method for trying the merits. And the court will not reward their use by upholding sanctions.