Although 2017 feels like decades ago, insureds are still in the courtroom fighting for their hurricanes Harvey claims with their insurance companies. Earlier this month, March 5 Playa Vista Conroe v. Insurance Company in the West 1 the Fifth U.S. District Court upheld the lower court's decision in favor of a tenant-owner association in Texas, demanding that the insurance company pay $ 190,827.50 for the damage plus $ 50,000 for the insured's legal fees.
Playa Vista Conroe is a housing association located on the north shore of Lake Conroe, an artificial lake on the San Jacinto River outside of Houston, Texas. Before Hurricane Harvey, the Playa Vista property included 22 boat sleepers. These boat sanders, along with the jetty, were insured by the Insurance Company of the West ("ICW") just three months before Hurricane Harvey. The policy documents contained: a "difference in conditional form" ("DICF"); a "limited coverage ̵
Hurricane Harvey, a Category 4 hurricane, destroyed Texas and Louisiana in August 2017. The San Jacinto River Authority released 79,141 cubic meters of water per second from the dam in order to prevent Lake Conroe Dam from overflowing and failing. This flow rate was almost equal to the flow rate in Niagara Falls. As a result, the Playa Vista boat sanders were wiped out.
Playa Vista sought compensation for the tie based on its ICW policy. In its notice of loss, Playa Vista described the loss as “[d] extension of various parts of the residential property from severe weather, including complete destruction of [the] boat dock, damage to residential buildings, damage to garage, shots, fencing damage, landscaping damage, pool damage, awning damage. and other miscellaneous damages. The ICW denied coverage, stating that the damage "appears [ed] to be the result of Hurricane / Tropical Storm Harvey," and that Playa Vista & # 39 ;s policy d [id] does not cover floods caused by a hurricane or tropical storm. "
The ICW claimed three potential exceptions, which three judges of the Circuit Court of Appeals panel unanimously found not applicable.
Following the court brought a final judgment in favor of Playa Vista, brought an action before the ICW, arguing for the first time that since Playa Vista ruled that its losses were caused by the San Jacinto River Authority, " it triggered a previously mentioned exception for "acts or decisions, including failure to act or decide, by any person, organization or government
The opinion, written by District Judge Andrew S. Oldham, criticized this legal & # 39; gotcha & # 39; as "far too little too late. If the ICW wanted to rely on exclusion from the government agency, it was obliged to address it (most recently) in a summary judgment." 2
1 Playa Vista Conroe v. Ins. Co. of the West No. 20-20307 (5 Cir. 5 March 2021).
2 See, e.g. Mid-Continent Cas. Co. v. Bay Rock Operating Co. 614 F.3d 105, 113 (5th Cir. 2010).