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Texas School District Fights Insurance Co. Bullying Tactics Following Massive Explosion

In April 2013, a massive fertilizer explosion in the Central Texas community of West, Texas, caused catastrophic damage to nearby buildings, including several owned by the West Independent School District. Twelve first responders and three residents died when agricultural fertilizer containing ammonium nitrate caught fire and caused the explosion. The blast left a crater 93-feet wide and 12-feet deep and destroyed nearby buildings and more than 500 homes.

Insurers’ Underhanded Playbook

At the West Independent School District, the district’s insurance providers took a common approach when property owners file property damage claims – they implemented a strategy to delay and stonewall the claims. The insurance companies also sought to minimize the scope of damages and shift responsibility to the Federal Emergency Management Administration.

A monetary settlement that allowed the school district to rebuild and repair

Aggressive Response Gets Attention – and Resolution

The Gravely legal team filed a lawsuit in McClennan County court, charging that the insurance companies had breached their contract with the West ISD, failed to pay the damages claims and failed to explain the rejection, as required by law. Gravely appellate lawyers then blocked the insurers’ attempt to exploit a technicality to avoid paying the damages. Out of options and facing Gravely’s aggressive litigation, the parties reached a monetary settlement that allowed the school district to rebuild and repair.

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