Not surprisingly, insurance companies rarely like to share.
In many insurance disputes, there are hundreds and even thousands of similarly
situated cases. Meaning if you have been wronged in a certain way by an
insurance company, it's likely the case you are not alone. As a result,
many different lawsuits are filed across a diversity of jurisdictions.
The problem is that in each case, the insurers like to try and prevent
plaintiffs (meaning policyholders like you) from sharing your information
with other policyholders that may be having the same dispute, and similar
litigation, with the same insurer.
In a perfect world, all of this information would be freely shared because,
after all, the goal in litigation is to reveal the true facts so that
cases can be fairly decided. But insurers fight this, frequently insisting
that protective orders be entered that prohibit you from sharing your
litigation documents or experiences with other litigants.
In Texas, the law has long been that protective orders should be written
in a way to encourage sharing of information. And insurers like State
Farm, are not afraid to appeal court orders that force them to share their
information with other similarly situated litigants. For example, the
Beaumont, Texas Court of Appeals
In re State Farm Lloyds, 2003 WL 22149155 (Tex. App-Beaumont 2003) ruled that a trial court's
order permitting such sharing was perfectly appropriate, and cited former
Texas Supreme Court precedent. The Texas Supreme Court has stated "the
discovery process is often frustrated by the adversarial approach to discovery.
The 'rules of the game' encourage parties to hinder opponents
by forcing them to utilize repetitive and expensive methods to find out
the facts. The truth about relevant matters is often kept submerged beneath
the surface of glossy denials and formal challenges to requests until
an opponent unknowingly utters some magic phrase to cause the facts to
See Garcia v. Peeples, 734 S.W.2d 343 (Tex. 1987).
Sharing protective orders continue to be the law in Texas. Nevertheless,
given insurance company's practices in the field, it's no surprise
some insurers have repeatedly tried to persuade courts to keep the facts
in their lawsuits hidden from the public.