On May 16, 2023, a Faegre Drinker insurance team including Susan Egeland, Sara Inman and Alex Harrell secured an opinion from the Dallas Court of Appeals affirming a summary judgment in favor of client Allstate Vehicle and Property Insurance Company. The win was a significant victory in a matter of first impression for the Texas appellate courts.
The case involved the interpretation of a relatively new statute enacted by the Texas Legislature in 2017. The Dallas Court of Appeals agreed with the trial court that because there were no unpaid policy benefits for the plaintiff to seek in a judgment, under the plain meaning of the statute at issue, the plaintiff’s claim for attorneys’ fees was barred as a matter of law. The court’s opinion is consistent with decisions recently issued by a number of federal district courts in Texas—including in several other cases in which Faegre Drinker represented the insurer—but represents the first instance in which a Texas state appellate court has weighed-in on the proper construction of the statute.