Texas Supreme Court Argument Preview (9/18/14)

On Thursday, September 18, 2014, the Supreme Court of Texas will hear argument in the following three cases:13-0080, RSUI Indemnity Co. v. The Lynd Co.  – The primary issue in this insurance coverage case is how the policy limits of an excess property insurance policy should be calculated. The policy at issue covers multiple properties, and contains a “Scheduled Limit of Liability” endorsement. The petitioner insurance company contends that this endorsement makes that policy a scheduled policy, rather than a blanket policy. Under that interpretation, the insurance company argues, the loss to each property is calculated independently and then compared to the policy limits for that property in the schedule. The respondent property owner argues that the label (scheduled or blanket) is irrelevant and that the language of the policy requires all losses from a single occurrence to be calculated using the same method. Then, the total loss should be compared to the aggregate policy limits for the properties at issue, and the insurer should pay whichever is less.13-0337, PlainsCapital Bank v. Martin – This case involves the application of Texas Property Code section 51.003, which provides that when property is sold at foreclosure for less than the amount of the indebtedness, and the noteholder brings suit to recover the deficiency, the borrower can seek an offset of the deficiency in the amount of the difference between the foreclosure-sale price and the market value of the property. The primary issue is whether section 51.003 applies where the noteholder seeks a deficiency based on the price it received from reselling the property instead of the foreclosure-sale price. 13-0435, City of Houston v. Carlson – This is an inverse condemnation suit in which the primary issue is whether there was actually a taking. The city ordered the occupants of a condominium complex to vacate because the complex was not code-compliant and the city determined it was too dangerous for habitation. That order was eventually reversed on appeal because the residents were no afforded due process. The residents then sued the city, asserting that requiring the residents to vacate the complex without due process constituted a regulatory taking. The city argues that there was no taking because the city did not use, damage, or demolish the condominium units. The city also argues that the order to vacate was a nonpublic use of its police powers.You can watch the arguments live beginning at 9:00 am or watch the recording later at the same link.- Rich Phillips, Thompson & Knight