980 S - 980 S.W.2d 625 STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE...

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980 S.W.2d 625; STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE COMPANY, Petitioner, v. Ronald H. TRAVER, executor of the Estate of Mary E. Davidson, Respondent. (Tex.); Page 625 STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE COMPANY, Petitioner, v. Ronald H. TRAVER, executor of the Estate of Mary E. Davidson, Respondent. No. 96--1201. Supreme Court of Texas. Argued April 24, 1997. Decided Dec. 31, 1998. Anne Gardner, Lori R. Thomas, Melinda Ruth Burke, Fort Worth, for Petitioner. William L. Kirkman, Fort Worth, for Respondent. Page 626 Chief Justice PHILLIPS delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Justice HECHT, Justice ENOCH, Justice SPECTOR, Justice OWEN, Justice BAKER, and Justice HANKINSON join. We withdraw our opinion of August 25, 1998, and substitute the following in its place. We overrule the motions for rehearing of State Farm and Ronald Traver. Ronald Traver, an estate executor, argues that the attorney provided by decedent Mary Davidson's liability insurer, State Farm, committed malpractice in defending a personal injury claim against Davidson, resulting in a judgment in excess of policy limits. Traver sued State Farm for negligence, breach of its duty to defend, breach of the Stowers duty,(fn1) breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing, and violations of the Deceptive Trade Practices Act and Insurance Code. The trial court granted summary judgment for State Farm on all causes of action. The court of appeals, holding that an insurer is responsible for the conduct of the attorney it provides to defend an insured, reversed and remanded the malpractice claim, along with the DTPA and Insurance Code claims relating to the malpractice, for trial. 930 S.W.2d 862. The court of appeals further held, however, that Traver could not recover for breach of the Stowers duty, for breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing, or for any claim under the DTPA or Insurance Code relating to those duties. Because we hold that an insurer is not vicariously liable for the malpractice of an independent attorney it selects to defend an insured, we reverse the judgment of the court of appeals and render judgment for State Farm on all claims based on vicarious liability. Further, because Traver has not separately applied for writ of error, the court of appeals' judgment on the Stowers claim and good faith claim (and related
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statutory claims) is final. We remand the cause to the trial court to allow Traver to pursue any remaining claims that he pled or might plead against State Farm. I In January 1989, Mary Davidson collided with Calvin Klause in an automobile accident. Mary Jordan, a passenger in Klause's car, was severely injured. By coincidence, both Davidson and Klause were insured by State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company. Each had an automobile liability policy with a per-person liability limit of $25,000. Jordan sued both drivers in one action. State Farm retained separate attorneys to
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This note was uploaded on 09/30/2011 for the course EMGT 5130 taught by Professor Jeong during the Fall '11 term at UH Clear Lake.

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980 S - 980 S.W.2d 625 STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE...

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