United States District Court, S.D. Texas, Houston Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
F. ATLAS, SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
case is before the Court on the Motion for Summary Judgment
(“AIG's Motion”) [Doc. # 11] filed by
Defendant AIG Property Casualty Company (“AIG”),
to which Plaintiff Robert Salcetti filed a Response and
Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment (“Salcetti's
Motion”) [Doc. # 14]. AIG filed a Reply in support of
its own Motion and a Response to Salcetti's Motion [Doc.
# 17], and Salcetti filed a Reply [Doc. # 18]. For the
reasons explained below, the Court denies
both motions as premature.
owns a home in Houston, Texas, that is insured by an AIG
homeowner's policy (the “Policy”). In late
August 2017, Hurricane Harvey stalled over Houston, causing
significant rainfall throughout the area. Salcetti alleges
that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers decided to release
water from the Addicks and Barker Reservoirs, and that this
water entered his home causing significant damage.
See Original Petition [Doc. # 1-4], ¶ 10.
filed a claim with AIG for the damage to his home. He alleges
that the cost to repair items in his home that were damaged
was $2, 524, 250.00, and that he has received $1, 000, 000.00
from other insurance. See id., ¶ 14. After AIG
denied the claim, Salcetti filed this lawsuit seeking to
recover the remainder from AIG. Salcetti also seeks
initial conference before this Court on July 29, 2019, the
parties advised that they would like to file pre-discovery
motions for summary judgment and represented that the motions
would be based on an agreed Stipulation of Facts. On that
basis, the Court allowed the early motions and imposed a
briefing schedule. See Hearing Minutes and Order
[Doc. # 8]. Although the parties were not able to reach
agreement on a Stipulation of Facts, they each filed a motion
for summary judgment. The pending motions have been fully
briefed and are now ripe for decision.
APPLICABLE LEGAL STANDARDS
Summary Judgment Standard
judgment is proper only if the pleadings, depositions,
answers to interrogatories, and admissions in the record,
together with any affidavits filed in support of the motion,
demonstrate that there is no genuine issue as to any material
fact, and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a
matter of law. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a);
Bacharach v. Suntrust Mortg., Inc., 827 F.3d 432,
434 (5th Cir. 2016). The Court construes all facts and
considers all evidence in the light most favorable
to the nonmoving party. See Guar. Bank & Trust Co. v.
Agrex, Inc., 820 F.3d 790, 794 (5th Cir. 2016) (emphasis
Standard for Insurance Policies
Texas law, the meaning of an insurance contract is to be
determined under the standards applicable to contracts
generally. See One Beacon Ins. Co. v. Crowley Marine
Servs., 648 F.3d 258, 271 (5th Cir. 2011);
Mid-Continent Cas. Co. v. Swift Energy Co., 206 F.3d
487, 491 (5th Cir. 2000); Barnett v. Aetna Life Ins.
Co., 723 S.W.2d 663, 665 (Tex. 1987). A court's
primary concern is to give effect to the intention of the
parties as expressed by the policy language. Am. Nat.
Gen. Ins. Co. v. Ryan, 274 F.3d 319, 323 (5th Cir. 2001)
(citing Ideal Lease Serv., Inc. v. Amoco Prod. Co.,
662 S.W.2d 951, 953 (Tex. 1983)).
argues that two exclusions in the Policy apply to
Salcetti's claim. Specifically, AIG argues that the
“Confiscation” exclusion and the “Surface
and Ground Water Damage” exclusion apply. Because they
are exclusions to Policy coverage, AIG has the burden to
prove that they govern in the dispute. John M.
O'Quinn, P.C. v. Lexington Ins. Co., 906 F.3d 363,
367 (5th Cir. 2018) (“The insured bears the initial
burden of showing that there is coverage, while the insurer
bears the burden of proving the applicability of any
exclusions in the policy.”).