Ex parte Jerry Newby and Alfa Mutual Insurance Company.Annotate this Case
This case was, "[i]n short, ... an insurance bad faith failure to defend/indemnify/settle case arising out of several underlying lawsuits, which in turn arose out of the [respondents'] operation and financing of a dairy farm in between 2007 and 2010." Specifically, the respondents were involved in two earlier actions, the first as plaintiffs and the second as defendants. Both actions concerned the respondents' operation of a dairy farm and milking facility located in Dallas County. At all relevant times in the first action, both Laird Cole and Henry Cole were insured by Alfa Mutual Insurance Company. At all relevant times in the second action, Laird Cole was insured by Alfa. While these two actions were ongoing, Jerry Newby was the president and chief executive officer of Alfa. On July 25, 2013, Laird Cole and Foundation Farms sued Alfa in the circuit court, alleging "claims of fraud, breach of contract, bad faith, breach of the enhanced duty of good faith, negligence, and wantonness arising out of [Alfa's] handling [of the] underlying lawsuits." The respondents filed an amended complaint adding Henry Cole as an additional plaintiff and "clear[ing] up some of the allegations." On April 30, 2014, Alfa moved for summary judgment, alleging that there was no dispute as to any material fact and that Alfa was entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Respondents then served Alfa with a subpoena ordering Newby to appear at a video deposition. Newby and Alfa petitioned the Supreme Court for a writ of mandamus to direct the circuit court to vacate its November 19, 2014, order denying the petitioners' motion to quash the subpoena directed to Newby for deposition testimony that was requested by respondents. After review of the matter, the Supreme Court concluded that petitioners failed to demonstrate that they had a clear legal right to the relief sought and denied their petition.