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Jackson v. Gainsco, Inc.

Court of Appeals of Texas, Fifth District, Dallas

June 14, 2018

ALBERTA JACKSON, Appellant
v.
GAINSCO, INC./GAINSCO AUTO INSURANCE AND MGA INSURANCE COMPANY, INC., Appellees

          On Appeal from the County Court at Law No. 4 Dallas County, Texas Trial Court Cause No. CC-15-02629-D

          Before Justices Lang-Miers, Myers, and Boatright

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          ELIZABETH LANG-MIERS, JUSTICE

         In a single issue appellant Alberta Jackson appeals the trial court's summary judgment in favor of appellees Gainsco, Inc./Gainsco Auto Insurance and MGA Insurance Company, Inc. ("Gainsco") dismissing her claims for Deceptive Trade Practices Act and Insurance Code violations because they were barred by the statute of limitations. We affirm.

         Background

         On January 27, 2013, Jackson was involved in a motor vehicle collision when her Ford F-150 truck was struck by another vehicle. She contended that this was a "hit and run" accident with an uninsured motorist. The collision caused damage to Jackson's truck.

         At the time of this collision, Jackson's truck was covered by a Texas Personal Auto Policy ("policy") issued by Gainsco. Her policy included collision coverage, rental car reimbursement, and comprehensive uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. Jackson reported the collision and vehicle damages to Gainsco on January 29, 2013.

         Gainsco completed its claim investigation on May 2, 2013, and closed its investigation file on May 20, 2013. Jackson claimed she was not notified of the acceptance of the claim until August 28, 2013. Gainsco made the first payment for the repair of Jackson's vehicle on September 5, 2013. Jackson's vehicle was in the body shop for approximately six weeks and Jackson alleged that Gainsco did not pay the body shop the full amount of the repairs.

         Procedural Background

         On March 25, 2013, two months after the accident, Jackson sued Gainsco in the 191st District Court of Dallas County, Texas. (the "first lawsuit"). Jackson sought declaratory relief regarding her uninsured motorist coverage and also alleged that Gainsco breached its duty of good faith and fair dealing by refusing to pay, and by delaying payment of, her claim for vehicle repairs and rental car expenses.

         Gainsco moved for summary judgment in the first lawsuit and a hearing was set on this motion for March 23, 2015. A few days prior to that scheduled hearing, on March 20, 2015, Jackson voluntarily dismissed the first lawsuit.

         Two months later, on May 22, 2015, Jackson again sued Gainsco, this time in the County Court at Law No. 4 of Dallas County, Texas. (the "second lawsuit.") In this second lawsuit, Jackson claimed breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing under the Insurance Code and Deceptive Trade Practices Act (DTPA), again claiming Gainsco refused and delayed payment for vehicle repairs and car rental.

         Gainsco filed a traditional motion for summary judgment and an amended traditional motion for summary judgment on grounds that Jackson's claims were barred by the two-year statute of limitations. The trial court granted summary judgment by written order signed July 13, 2016, stating:

The Court, after carefully reviewing the motion, and the response from Plaintiff, along with the summary judgment evidence, the arguments of counsel, and the pleadings on file in this cause, the Court is of the opinion that Plaintiff's claims are barred by the statute of limitations. Therefore summary ...

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