By: David Yates
Southeast Texas Record
March 28, 2016
When it rains, it pours.
For Steve Mostyn, that's usually a good thing. The wind and rain that come with hurricanes and other storms, wreaking havoc on homes and businesses, are bad news for the owners of damaged property, but good news for Mostyn, because he is an attorney specializing in suing insurance companies (and the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association), ostensibly on behalf of property owners with unsatisfied damage claims.
Lately, however, there's been a dark cloud hanging over Mostyn, figuratively speaking, the rain is falling right on him in buckets, and he's probably wishing he hadn't left his metaphorical mackintosh, galoshes, and umbrella at home.
Last November, State Farm defeated an attempt by his firm to inflate the claim of Hidalgo County homeowners who'd already accepted a settlement for 2012 hail damage.
This past January, State Farm triumphed over another Mostyn client trying to get more money for 2012 hail damage to her Dallas County home after she already had accepted compensation.
Last December, a former client sued Mostyn for inflating a storm policy claim for damage caused by Hurricane Ike, then quitting the client when the insurer balked and leaving that individual liable for the company's legal bills.
Other disgruntled clients are beginning to pop up like toadstools.
On March 18 Irvin and Nancy Harrison filed suit in Harris County District Court, asserting that Mostyn and staff mishandled their Hurricane Ike claim and are guilty of “negligence and malicious intent to cover up their actions involving plaintiff’s property flood damage claims.”
The Harrisons said they were “lied to, misled, and put off about the status, facts, and progress in connection with the flood damage claims,” as a result of which they were unable to repair their Crystal Beach home and eventually had it foreclosed on.
They accuse the Mostyn firm of deceptive trade practices, gross negligence, and breach of fiduciary duty and seek more than $1 million in compensatory damages.
The forecast for Mostyn? More bad weather.