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Movie director burned in case over fire coverage

Posted On: Jun. 22, 2015 12:00 AM CST

The director of “Dazed and Confused” saw his longstanding legal battle with his insurer go up in smoke in a Texas courtroom last week.

The Texas Court of Appeals, Third District, at Austin turned down an appeal by filmmaker Richard Linklater, who has been locked in a dispute with his insurer over a 2011 fire which consumed 32,000 acres near Paige, Texas, and destroyed a building owned by Mr. Linklater.

Mr. Linklater's building housed his archives which included film prints, annotated scripts, props and unseen movie footage and was valued at $500,000. Mr. Linklater and his insurer, Truck Insurance Exchange, a unit of Farmers Insurance Group, were at odds over policy language. TIE initially denied Mr. Linklater's claim for the archive, because it was not a “described location” in the policy. Mr. Linklater sued asserting breach of contract, unfair insurance practices, and prompt payment violations.

The appeals court agreed with a lower court ruling in favor of the insurer. “The Coverage Extensions provisions of the commercial property policy do not extend coverage to Linklater's archive because it was not at a location that Linklater acquired during the policy period, but instead was at a location he already owned and that was not one of the premises covered by the policy,” the total bummer of a ruling states.