Insurance Case Dealing With ''Shifting Soil'' In Texas

In Muniz v. State Farm Lloyds, 974 S.W.2d 229 (Tex. App.-San Antonio 1998, no pet.), the dispute centered on whether damage to the plaintiff's home was covered under the homeowner's policy. See id. at 231. The original dispute centered on what caused the soil beneath the plaintiff's house to shift. See id. The plaintiff's contended that water leaking from the house's plumbing caused the clay beneath the foundation to swell, which would be covered by the policy. See id. State Farm claimed the shift was cause by the "inherent vice" of the neighborhood's soil, which would not be covered by the policy. See id. The Muniz court also noted other precedent "unfriendly" to the plaintiff's claims. See: Muniz, 974 S.W.2d at 235-236 (citing Bui v. St. Paul Mercury Ins. Co., 981 F.2d 209, 210 (5th Cir. 1993) (holding dismissal of claim of negligent investigation against an independent adjuster was proper under Texas law because the adjuster was not a party to the insurance contract and did not owe a duty to the insured); Hartman v. Urban, 946 S.W.2d 546, 550 (Tex. App.-Corpus Christi 1997, no writ) (holding that an engineering company hired by a developer is not ultimately liable to the party who bought the platted piece for negligence for an inaccurate plat on the basis of lack of privity)).