Texas Supreme Court Upholds Lower-Court Ruling on Discovery of Evidence in UIM Case


In another UIM case that involved a discovery dispute, the Texas Supreme Court denied State Farm Insurance Company’s petition for writ of mandamus to stop discovery of evidence on extracontractual claims, upholding a Fort Worth Court of Appeals and district court ruling on the matter.

The case involves Paula C. Mentzer and her lawsuit against State Farm in district court for common-law bad-faith and statutory extracontractual liability damages in her UIM case. Ms. Mentzer obtained a judgment establishing the liability of the tortfeasor and the damages she sustained as a result. Shortly thereafter, State Farm paid Ms. Mentzer her policy limit of her underinsured motorist coverage in accordance with the judgment.

Mentzer then pursued her extracontractual claims against State Farm. State Farm filed a motion for summary judgment arguing that the extracontractual claims should be dismissed because the judgment was paid within 30 days. Ms. Mentzer argued that she should be allowed to obtain discovery on the extracontractual claims to respond to the motion for summary judgment and petitioned the court to allow discovery of evidence on the extracontractual claims. Tarrant County District Judge Susan Heygood McCoy agreed with Mentzer and allowed the discovery on the extracontractual claims. State Farm appealed to the Fort Worth Court of Appeals, which agreed with the trial court.

The case is IN RE STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE COMPANY, Relator No. 02-20-00144-C.