DCSA Legal Trends Update
In an effort to keep our members informed of recent legal developments, DCSA will publish periodic Case Discussions highlighting Texas federal and state decisions or legal topics DCSA believes will impact the San Antonio defense bar. If you are interested in authoring a Case Discussion on a recent Texas decision or legal topic and having it published on the DCSA website, please contact Michael DeNuccio(firstname.lastname@example.org) or Daniel Ray (email@example.com), who will be happy to work with you.
Bifurcation in UIM Cases:
On March 19, 2021, the Texas Supreme Court issued an opinion in In Re State Farm and Strahan. Full opinion here https://www.txcourts.gov/media/1451913/190791.pdf
Bottom line – “In order to establish State Farm’s liability to them under their UIM policies—as they must to recover on their Insurance Code claims—[Plaintiffs] must first obtain determinations of the third-party drivers’ liability and the amount of damages.” (page 10)
Bifurcation of insurance based claims is required until after a judgment on liability and damages is rendered by a court. Bifurcation is required for two reasons: 1) bifurcation tends to preserve judicial resources; and 2) evidence of the insurer’s settlement offer may be admissible in one phase of the trial but inadmissible in the other. (pages 11-12)