H&W “Settles” 12 Year Old Lawsuit the Old Fashioned Way, Down at the Courthouse

H&W “Settles” 12 Year Old Lawsuit the Old Fashioned Way, Down at the Courthouse

by Onyinyechi Muilenburg

HOUSTON, TX – May 22, 2018 – At the close of the Plaintiffs’ case, the 268th Judicial District Court of Fort Bend County, Texas granted a directed verdict in favor of Hirsch & Westheimer’s client, InsGroup, Inc., finally resolving litigation which had been pending for more than twelve years.

In a suit filed on April 6, 2006, Bernard Morello and White Lion Holdings accused their insurance company and agent of breach of contract, breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, negligence, “bad faith”, violations of the Deceptive Trade Practices Act and violations of the Insurance Code in connection with an insurance claim made for alleged damage caused by third-parties to some property owned by Mr. Morello and White Lion Holdings in Fort Bend County.

In early 2008, White Lion Holdings and Mr. Morello settled their claims with the other parties pursuant to a Full and Release of all claims and causes of action asserted or which could ever have been asserted by White Lion and Mr. Morello, in the lawsuit.

InsGroup, however, did not settle—opting instead to put its fate in the hands of Hirsch & Westheimer and a jury of twelve impartial citizens.

On May 22nd, 2018 the case was finally reached for trial, the prior settings having been passed or continued because of two different hurricanes, ice storms, and a myriad of health issues and other emergencies. A jury of twelve jurors, and one alternate, was impaneled and the case proceeded with the introduction of evidence and the taking of testimony by all sides.

At the conclusion of the Plaintiffs’ evidence, their counsel of record, former Harris County court-at-law Judge Jacqueline Lucci Smith and David Irwin rested. Eric Lipper, InsGroup’s lead trial counsel then made an oral Motion for Directed Verdict arguing, among other things, that the Full and Final Release entered in 2008 was fully dispositive of the claims because Mr. Morello and White Lion released all claims made or that could have been made, which necessarily included the claims asserted against InsGroup. After hearing and considering the response, the Court granted Insgroup’s Motion for Directed Verdict, and then entered a full and final judgment in favor of Insgroup.

Hirsch & Westheimer’s team was led by Eric Lipper, head of the litigation group and Melissa Sternfels.


About Hirsch & Westheimer, P.C. //

Hirsch & Westheimer is a Houston-based law firm. Our team consists of many recognized leaders in their fields in a broad array of matters, including advising executors of multi-million dollar estates to sellers in stock and asset transactions, and representing oil and gas companies in complex multiparty litigation. Hirsch & Westheimer’s clients include individuals, families, trusts, estates, major financial institutions and American and foreign business interests engaged in real estate development and management, aviation, upstream oil and gas, construction, insurance, retailing, wholesaling, manufacturing and merchandising. Throughout our 105-year legacy, our attorneys embody the culture of stability, hard work, service, professionalism and loyalty. We stand strong today as a historical landmark in Houston’s business and legal community. For more information, please visit www.hirschwest.com