Be careful settling claims covered by insurance.

A 1404(a) dispute was affirmed in Empire Indemity Ins. Co. v. N-S Corp., where “almost all non-party witnesses and all sources of proof needed to determine whether damages were covered by Empire’s policy are in, or around, Texas, and subject to the district court’s compulsory subpoena power.”  No. 13-40426 (June 12, 2014, unpublished).  On the merits, an aggrieved car wash operator sued its parts supplier and won a verdict for over $3 million.  Several months later, the parts supplier and its primary carrier settled with the plaintiff, all parties mutually released all claims against each other, and the parts supplier assigned its claims against its excess carrier to the plaintiff.  The excess carrier won summary judgment and the Fifth Circuit affirmed: “Following a release, the releasor cannot sue the releasee’s insurer ‘because the release precludes the prerequisite determination of [releasee’s liablity.'”  (quoting Angus Chem. Co. v. IMC Fertilizer, Inc., 939 S.W.2d 138 (Tex. 1997)).

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