Court of Appeals of Texas, Fourth District, San Antonio
the 79th Judicial District Court, Jim Wells County, Texas
Trial Court No. 15-03-54404-CV Honorable Oscar J. Hale Jr.,
Sitting: Patricia O. Alvarez, Justice, Luz Elena D. Chapa,
Justice, Irene Rios, Justice.
Patricia O. Alvarez, Justice.
dispute over the amount owed for storm damage to its
properties, the insured, Appellant Housing Authority of the
City of Alice, sued its insurer, Appellee Texas Municipal
League Joint Self-Insurance Fund. After substantial
discovery, the trial court asked the parties to submit
motions for partial summary judgment on the question of
whether the Authority has a right to an appraisal. The trial
court granted the Fund's motion for partial summary
judgment, and the Authority appealed. Because the order
granting the Fund's motion for partial summary judgment
was not a final, appealable order, we dismiss this appeal for
want of jurisdiction.
Housing Authority of the City of Alice owns more than 120
properties, primarily dwellings, in the City of Alice.
2013, the Authority purchased an insurance policy from the
Fund to insure against "the risk of direct physical loss
of or damage to [the Authority's] property." In case
of a loss, the policy's Property Coverage Document,
General Conditions, paragraph IV.D indicates the Authority is
to "render a signed and sworn proof of loss to the Fund
. . . within 60 days." If the Authority and the Fund
disagree on the amount of loss, paragraph IV.E establishes an
appraisal process to determine the amount of loss.
Storm, Damage Reports, Disputed Proof of
27, 2014, a storm damaged approximately 120 of the
Authority's properties. The next day, the Authority
reported the damage to the Fund by a telephone call. Two days
after the storm, the Authority sent a signed, written report
of loss to the Fund by facsimile.
Fund retained an independent adjuster who inspected the
Authority's properties and reported his findings. Based
on the findings, the Fund determined the Authority's
reimbursable amount of loss, less the applicable deductible,
was $429, 143.72. The Fund tendered payment to the Authority
by check; with the check, the Fund sent its proposed proof of
loss for the Authority to sign.
Authority did not sign the Fund's proposed proof of loss.
Instead, the Authority disputed the proposed amount of loss
and asserted its actual losses exceeded $3 million. To
support its claim, the Authority took steps to invoke the
appraisal process described in the policy.
Authority's Suit, Trial Court's Request
the Fund resisted invoking the appraisal process, the
Authority sued the Fund for breach of contract. The Authority
alleged the Fund failed to pay the amount of loss the
Authority claims it is entitled to based on the
Authority's appraisal. In turn, the Fund asserted the
Authority had no right to invoke the appraisal process. The
Fund argued a timely-filed, sworn proof of loss is an
appraisal process prerequisite, and the Authority did not
timely submit a compliant sworn proof of loss.
parties argued their positions on the Authority's right
to an appraisal to the trial court. The trial court opined
that "I think the issue I'm hearing is whether or
not there's a right to an appraisal. . . . I'd like
to get the briefing on that and make a ruling and then
we'll go from there." The court reiterated that it
would "make a ruling on that and then we'll see
where we need to go from there."
Motions for Summary Judgment, Trial ...