An insured should be able to overcome an insurer’s claim that the insured’s sale or disposal of property is not “spoliation” of evidence. There are many legitimate reasons why an insured may either sell their home or depose of damaged personal property after an insurer denies or fails to fully pay a claim. When an insurer does not fully pay to repair a home after it suffers significant damage, rendering the home inhabitable, an insured often does not have funds. Selling the property is often a more viable or the only solution to maintaining two households. As to damaged personal property that is a total loss, it often makes sense to dispose of the property rather than have it take up room in one’s home or pay for storage.
Continue Reading Selling or Disposing of Evidence Is Not “Spoliation” of Evidence – Countering an Insurer’s “Spoliation”

It is not uncommon in a condominium complex for a unit to be damaged due to a failure in a neighboring unit. With units tightly packed together, water can quickly flow from one unit to another, causing damage along the way. Determining the cause of damage is often the first step in evaluating an insurance claim. If evidence relating to the cause of the damage, such as maintenance records or a breached window or door, is owned and controlled by a third-party, when is there a duty imposed on the third-party to preserve the potential evidence?
Continue Reading Spoliation: A Non-Party’s Potential Duty to Preserve Evidence

This summer, a carrier asked a Houston federal court to declare that a fire was intentional, voiding the policy and removing carrier’s liability to the insured. The insured countered with a claim for breach of contract and sought sanctions for spoliation of evidence. The Court held that the carrier had a duty to preserve samples obtained by its investigator during its investigation and used its inherent power to sanction the carrier for pre-action destruction of evidence.1

Continue Reading Texas Insurers Have a Duty to Preserve Evidence Collected During Pre-Litigation Investigation