Court of Appeals of Texas, Fourth District, San Antonio
Original Mandamus Proceeding 
Sitting: Sandee Bryan Marion, Chief Justice Rebeca C.
Martinez, Justice Patricia O. Alvarez, Justice
Bryan Marion, Chief Justice.
John Ebin and Joyce O'Connor, assert the trial court
abused its discretion by striking their causation expert and
their insurance-claims-handling expert. Because we conclude
the trial court erred by striking relators' causation
expert, we grant the petition for writ of mandamus in part.
We deny all other relief.
a June 2016 hail storm, relators' insurance carrier, USAA
Casualty Insurance Co. ("USAA"), sent an
independent adjustor, Allcat Claims, to inspect relators'
home. Allcat's inspector, Clint Singleton, estimated
damage to the home in the form of twelve hail damaged roof
tiles and other interior and exterior damages.
Singleton's repair estimate totaled slightly more than
$10, 000. Relators then retained a public adjuster, Insurance
Claim Advantage ("ICA"), which inspected the home
in November 2016. ICA submitted an estimate of $121, 253.99.
ICA later revised its estimate to $128, 248.98. USAA denied
the amount presented by ICA's adjuster, Lindsey Douglas.
Relators later sued USAA, alleging USAA failed to properly
pay for the replacement of relators' roof and other items
allegedly damaged in the hail storm. Relators retained two
experts who are the subject of this original proceeding: (1)
Derek Steiner on causation and (2) Adam Brenner on claims
handling. In 2018, two years after the hailstorm, Steiner
inspected relators' home. He submitted an initial
estimate that mirrored ICA's with an amount of
$121.253.99. Steiner later revised his estimate to $128,
filed motions to strike the testimony and reports of both
experts. On August 1, 2019, the trial court conducted a
hearing on the motions. The next day, the trial court signed
two orders striking both experts. Relators filed their
petition for writ of mandamus and USAA filed a response.
is an extraordinary remedy. In re Sw. Bell Tel. Co.,
L.P., 235 S.W.3d 619, 623 (Tex. 2007) (orig.
proceeding). Mandamus will issue only to correct a clear
abuse of discretion when there is no other adequate remedy at
law. Id. To satisfy the clear abuse of discretion
standard, the relator must show "the trial court could
reasonably have reached only one decision." Liberty
Nat'l Fire Ins. Co. v. Akin, 927 S.W.2d 627, 630
(Tex. 1996) (orig. proceeding) (quoting Walker v.
Packer, 827 S.W.2d 833, 840 (Tex. 1992) (orig.
proceeding)). The relator has the burden of establishing both
prerequisites to mandamus relief, and this burden is a heavy
one. In re CSX Corp., 124 S.W.3d 149, 151 (Tex.
2003) (orig. proceeding) (per curiam).
designated Derek Steiner as their expert on causation and
damages. In its motion to strike Steiner, USAA raised two
challenges to Steiner. First, USAA alleged Steiner's
report, cost estimate, and testimony failed to use any
scientific method to investigate damages and were not based
on a reliable foundation. Second, Steiner's report,
estimate, and testimony are not relevant as to the
reasonableness of USAA's investigation and coverage
Admissibility of Expert Testimony
expert's opinion is admissible under Texas Rule of
Evidence 702 if the expert is qualified, the expert's
opinion is relevant to the issues in the case, and the
expert's opinion is based upon a reliable foundation.
See Tex. R. Evid. 702. Rule 702's reliability
requirement focuses on principles, research, and methodology
underlying an expert's conclusions. See E.I. du Pont
de Nemours & Co., Inc. v. Robinson, 923 S.W.2d 549,
557 (Tex. 1995). Under this requirement, expert testimony is
reliable if it is grounded "in the methods and
procedures of science" and is more than merely a
"subjective belief or unsupported speculation."
Id. (quoting Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharm.,
Inc., 509 U.S. 579, 590 (1993)). In addition to the
"methods and procedures of science" factors
considered under Robinson, when the subject matter
of an expert's opinion requires an expert to rely on
experience, knowledge, and training rather than a certain
methodology to reach a conclusion, a court makes the
reliability assessment by determining whether there is
"too great an analytical gap between the data and the
opinion proffered." Mack Trucks, Inc. v. Tamez,
206 S.W.3d 572, 578 (Tex. 2006) (citing Gammill v. Jack
Williams Chevrolet, Inc., 972 S.W.2d 713, 726 (Tex.
1998)). Regardless, "there must be some basis for the
opinion offered to show its reliability."
Gammill, 972 S.W.2d at 726. "An expert's
bare opinion will not suffice and is unreliable if based
solely upon his subjective interpretation of the facts."
Volkswagen of Am., Inc. v. Ramirez, 159 S.W.3d 897,
906 (Tex. 2004).
Reliability of Steiner's ...