Court of Appeals of Texas, Third District, Austin
THE COUNTY COURT AT LAW NO. 2 OF TRAVIS COUNTY, NO.
C-1-CV-16-005714, HONORABLE TODD T. WONG, JUDGE PRESIDING
Chief Justice Rose, Justices Goodwin and Field
K. Field, Justice
Egly appeals from the trial court's grant of summary
judgment in favor of Farmers Insurance Exchange a/k/a Farmers
Insurance (Farmers). In two issues, Egly contends that the
trial court erred in granting summary judgment because
Farmers did not establish as a matter of law that it had no
duty to defend a suit brought by Egly against the driver of a
vehicle insured by Farmers. We will affirm the trial
court's final summary judgment.
following facts are undisputed. Ismael Hernandez was involved
in a collision with Egly while driving a vehicle insured
under an automobile liability policy issued by Farmers. Egly
sued Hernandez for negligence. Hernandez never notified
Farmers of the suit. However, Egly's attorney sent
several messages to Farmers informing them of the suit. In
one message, Egly's attorney warned Farmers that Egly
would obtain a default judgment against Hernandez if no
answer was filed. Farmers sent messages to Hernandez
inquiring about the case, but Hernandez never responded to
obtained a default judgment against Hernandez. He then sued
Farmers, seeking payment of the default judgment as a
third-party beneficiary to the vehicle's insurance
policy. Farmers filed a traditional motion for summary
judgment, arguing that it had established as a matter of law
that it had no duty to defend the suit against Hernandez, and
therefore no duty to pay Egly, because Hernandez never
informed Farmers of the suit as required by the policy. The
trial court rendered a final summary judgment in Farmers'
favor, and this appeal followed.
review a trial court's ruling on a motion for summary
judgment de novo. See Exxon Mobil Corp. v. Rincones,
520 S.W.3d 572, 579 (Tex. 2017) (citing Valence Operating
Co. v. Dorsett, 164 S.W.3d 656, 661 (Tex. 2005)).
Traditional summary judgment is proper only if the movant
establishes that there is no genuine issue as to any material
fact and that it is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
case requires us to interpret an insurance policy. We
interpret insurance policies as we do other contracts.
See Great Am. Ins. Co. v. Primo, 512 S.W.3d 890, 892
(Tex. 2017). "The goal of contract interpretation is to
ascertain the parties' true intent as expressed by the
plain language they used." Id. at 893. "If
the language lends itself to a clear and definite legal
meaning, the contract is not ambiguous and will be construed
as a matter of law." Id.
appellate issues, Egly contends that the trial court erred in
granting summary judgment because Farmers did not establish
as a matter of law that it had no duty to defend his suit
against Hernandez. The insurance policy included the
A. We [Farmers] must be notified promptly of how, when and
where the accident or loss happened. Notice should also
include the names and addresses of any injured persons and of
any witnesses. If we show that your failure to provide notice