John Atkins Quoted in Law360 on Policyholders’ Pretrial Deals

“Texas Ruling Clamps Down On Policyholders’ Pretrial Pacts”

After the Texas Supreme Court let an insurance company retry a coverage dispute because an insured’s underlying construction defect loss didn’t result from a “fully adversarial” trial, policyholders will think twice about striking pretrial deals designed to eliminate their financial stake in litigation, attorneys say.

“The court provided a solid rule of thumb for determining whether an underlying liability trial is fully adversarial: whether the defendant has the incentive to litigate,” said Dallas-based Thompson & Knight LLP associate John Atkins. “It appears that the court views this decision as creating a disincentive for plaintiffs to enter into sweetheart agreements with defendants before the liability trial as they will know that insurers might be able to go back and relitigate liability and damages at the coverage trial.”