Dallas Attorneys Obtain Dismissal Against $250K Claim
Oct 9, 2023
Dallas attorneys Jason Jobe and Tandis Taghavi obtained a dismissal in a case related to a renters insurance policy procured in Colorado with alleged damage to personal property while Plaintiffs were en route to Texas.
Specific Jurisdiction Does Not Apply
Plaintiffs sought $250,000 in damages for negligence, and violations of the Texas Insurance Code, Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act, and Colorado Consumer Protection Act. At issue was whether Texas had personal jurisdiction over the Defendant, a Colorado entity, based off isolated phone calls initiated by the insured in either Texas and/or Colorado.
Plaintiffs argued personal jurisdiction existed because Defendant committed a tort in Texas by allegedly making misrepresentations regarding coverage of the renters insurance policy at issue, which was intended to cover personal property outside of Colorado. However, Defendant argued the only contact with Texas resulted from the unilateral activity and mere fortuity that Plaintiffs happened to be new residents of Texas at the time at which Plaintiffs initiated post-loss calls with Defendant. The Court rationalized the Plaintiffs’ relocation to Texas and subsequent post-loss phone calls did not have anything to do with Defendant purposefully availing itself to the privilege of conducting activities in Texas.
Due process permits an exercise of specific jurisdiction only when a defendant purposefully directs its activities at residents of the forum.
Unilateral Activity Does Not Create Contact
The court found that isolated post-loss phone calls from Plaintiffs (in Texas) to Defendant’s insurance agent (in Colorado) to discuss the insured’s renters policy are nothing more than unilateral activity, which does not create sufficient minimum contact because Defendant’s communication with a Texas resident alone rests on nothing but the mere fortuity that Plaintiffs happen to be a resident of that forum at that time. The fact that Plaintiffs told Defendant’s insurance agent their intended use for the renters policy (to move to Texas) also does not change the analysis because foreseeable injury alone is also not sufficient to confer specific jurisdiction, absent the direction of specific acts toward the forum.