Sanctions battle erupts in suit against Texas Fair Plan, storm attorney Eric Dick representing plaintiff
By David Yates
HOUSTON – A sanctions hearing has been slated for early next month in a Hurricane Harvey lawsuit against the Texas Fair Plan Association.
Seeking up to $100,000 in damages, Harvey Guidry filed suit against the TFPA in Harris County, alleging the insurer “failed to properly adjust” his claim for property damages.
“Defendant has created this environment of hiring poorly trained adjusters so as to create estimates that are substantially less than what its insured’s have actually suffered,” the suit states.
Guidry’s suit is very similar to the hundreds of other lawsuits his lawyer, Eric Dick, has brought against insurance companies.
Over the years, The Record has reported on several of Dick’s cases and even some of his exploits, including the attorney trolling for clients following an explosion at the Watson Grind facility in Spring Branch, which occurred back in January 2020.
Dick, along with Billy Bray, an insurance agent, hosted a series of town hall meetings for residents impacted by the blast.
More than a year later, it seems Dick and Bray are apparently still working together, as Bray has been named as an expert witness in Guidry’s lawsuit against TFPA, according to records.
Court records also show Dick has named Ray Choate, an appraiser who has been used by other storm attorneys, and Matt Morgan, an adjuster who ran for Texas House with money supplied by storm attorneys, as experts.
In February 2020, Morgan reported a $5,000 in-kind political contribution from Dick, campaign finance records show.
The issue of expert witnesses seems to be at the heart of the sanction battle brewing between the parties in Guidry’s suit.
On May 26, TFPA filed a motion for sanctions because of the plaintiff’s “blatant disregard” of a court’s order compelling him to produce eight expert witnesses for deposition, court records show.
The motion states Choate is “routinely appointed by the Dick Law Firm as its clients’ appraiser in dozens of disputes involving TFPA claims.”
TFPA also asserts that Morgan, “an alleged ‘bad faith’ witness,” was coached and the deposition was unable to be completed.
“Indeed, (the) coaching was so effective the witness began lodging his own objections to proper questions,” the motion states.
On June 8, Guidry filed a counter motion for sanctions, accusing TFPA’s attorney of intimidation and abusive harassment – “behavior” that “begs for sanctions.”
A hearing on the matter has been set for Aug. 3, court records show.
TFPA is represented by Beaumont attorney James R. Old, Jr., a Hicks Thomas attorney.
Case No. 1136776