OneBeacon Insurance Co. v. T. Wade Welch & Associates, No. 15-20402 (5th Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
OneBeacon filed suit for declaratory judgment, seeking to rescind an insurance policy or obtain a declaration that the prior-knowledge exclusion barred coverage. The Welch Firm counterclaimed, asserting violations of the common law Stowers duty and the Texas Insurance Code. DISH intervened. The jury returned a verdict in favor of DISH and the Welch Firm. OneBeacon timely appealed and the Welch parties cross-appealed. The court affirmed the district court’s orders denying OneBeacon’s motion and renewed motion for judgment as a matter of law based on the policy’s prior-knowledge exclusion; concluded that the district court did not err in holding that DISH’s July 14, 2011, letter demanding policy limits in exchange for a full release of its claims against the Welch Firm was a valid Stowers demand which OneBeacon rejected; concluded that the district court did not err in entering judgment on the jury’s award of additional damages on the ground that OneBeacon “knowingly” violated Section 541.060 of the Texas Insurance Code; concluded that OneBeacon's challenges to the jury's $8 million award was not properly before the court; and concluded that the district court did not err in requiring the Welch Firm to choose between additional damages under Chapter 541 and exemplary damages under Stowers.