RLI Insurance Company v. Marie Costello


UNPUBLISHED OPINION FILED. [17-20126 Affirmed] Judge: EHJ, Judge: JLW, Judge: ECP. Mandate pull date is 09/27/2017 [17-20126]

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Case: 17-20126 Document: 00514144883 Page: 1 Date Filed: 09/06/2017 IN THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FIFTH CIRCUIT No. 17-20126 Summary Calendar RLI INSURANCE COMPANY, United States Court of Appeals Fifth Circuit FILED September 6, 2017 Lyle W. Cayce Clerk Plaintiff - Appellee v. MARIE COSTELLO, Defendant - Appellant Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas USDC No. 4:16-CV-940 Before JONES, WIENER, and PRADO, Circuit Judges. PER CURIAM:* After her recreational vehicle was vandalized, appellant Marie Costello submitted a damage claim under an insurance policy issued by appellee RLI Insurance Co. The recreational vehicle was not registered when it was vandalized, and RLI denied Costello’s claim based on a provision that excludes coverage for losses to the recreational vehicle if it “does not have a valid motor vehicle registration at the time of the loss.” RLI also filed this declaratory- Pursuant to 5TH CIR. R. 47.5, the court has determined that this opinion should not be published and is not precedent except under the limited circumstances set forth in 5TH CIR. R. 47.5.4. * Case: 17-20126 Document: 00514144883 Page: 2 Date Filed: 09/06/2017 No. 17-20126 judgment action, seeking a judicial determination that there was no coverage under the policy. The district court agreed and granted summary judgment to RLI. In particular, the district court rejected Costello’s argument that Texas Insurance Code section 862.054—Texas’s anti-technicality statute—precludes RLI from relying on the vehicle-registration exclusion as a defense to coverage. Emphasizing the Texas Supreme Court’s recent discussion of that statute in Greene v. Farmers Insurance Exchange, 446 S.W.3d 761 (Tex. 2014), the district court noted that the statute applies only to “breaches.” Thus, the district court reasoned, because no breach occurred in this case, the statute is inapplicable. The district court also considered other Texas Supreme Court cases that Costello claims differentiate this case from Greene, and the court distinguished those cases in much the same way that the Texas Supreme Court itself distinguished them in Greene. Having reviewed the briefs and the record, we AFFIRM for essentially the reasons given by the district court. 2

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