Filing An Insurance Claim for Plumbing Leaks In Texas

In Oram v. State Farm Lloyds, 977 S.W.2d 163 (Tex. App. - Austin 1998, no pet.). The Orams purchased a house in 1991. Id. at 165. In 1993, they discovered a sewage line leak and a crack in the house's foundation and filed a claim with State Farm. Id. State Farm denied the Oram's claim after determining that moisture changes and expanding tree roots caused the crack. Id. State Farm did offer to pay for the plumbing leak; however, the Orams refused the offer. Oram, 977 S.W.2d at 165-66. Instead they filed suit, asserting breach of contract and violations of Articles 21.21 and 21.55 of the Insurance Code. Oram, 977 S.W.2d at 166. The case was tried to a jury, which found that the plumbing leak caused 60% of the foundation damage. Id. State Farm filed a motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict and the trial court granted it. Id. On appeal, the Orams made several claims, including that the trial court erred in failing to submit their requested jury question regarding article 21.55, section 3. Id. at 167. After discussing article 21.55, the Austin court concluded that the Orams were entitled to the 18% statutory damages and attorney fees. Id.