FIRST IMPRESSIONS & SPLIT DECISION–INSURANCE, Rule 91a Dismissal of Stowers Claims, No. 04-19-00

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In In re Farmers Texas County Mutual Ins. Co., the majority conditionally granted mandamus relief in part regarding the trial judge’s denial of a Rule 91a motion to dismiss numerous claims filed against Farmers. The court addressed an issue of first impression: “whether an insured has a Stowers cause of action against her insurance company when, as here, the case settles pre-trial and the insured has paid a portion of the settlement because the insurer refused to pay the entirety of the settlement demand.” Maj. Op. at p. 8.

In denying mandamus relief in part, as to this Stowers claim, the majority held that “the principal of law on which relator relies—that a Stowers claim always requires an excess judgment—is not so clearly established as to be free from doubt.” Id. at 9 (internal quotation marks omitted). The dissent disagreed on this point, and would have granted mandamus relief regarding the denial of Farmer’s Rule 91a motion as to this claim.

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