A Fight and a Promise
From Nat’l Ass’n for Legal Gun Defense, LLC v. Hensley, decided Thursday by the Texas Court of Appeals, in an opinion by Chief Justice Bonnie Sudderth, joined by Justices Dabney Bassel and Dana Womack:
Appellant National Association for Legal Gun Defense, LLC (NALGD), complains of the trial court’s judgment for Appellee Glenn Hensley in a dispute over whether NALGD was obligated to pay Hensley’s attorney’s fees under a self-defense liability coverage agreement between the parties. In its sole issue, NALGD challenges the trial court’s judgment by arguing that the agreement was inapplicable because (1) Hensley was not acting in self-defense and (2) Hensley did not protect himself with a covered weapon. We affirm….
NALGD is a membership organization that promises to cover the legal fees of any member who faces criminal or civil action related to an incident wherein that member used a weapon in self-defense. Hensley became a member of NALGD in 2014 after he became involved in “First Amendment audits”—organized gatherings of photographers and others who videotape from public spaces for the purpose of educating people of their right to do so. At one such audit in California on December 7, 2017, Hensley was involved in an altercation with a Church of Scientology security guard. The altercation led to Hensley’s arrest, initially for the California offense of grand theft person, which was later upgraded to the more serious offense of felony robbery. [The case apparently was ultimately plea bargained to a misdemeanor. -EV]
In the days following his arrest, Hensley sought and obtained approval from NALGD to cover his legal expenses under the liability coverage agreement. However, after NALGD later refused to pay for his attorney’s fees, Hensley filed suit, bringing claims for violations of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act, negligent misrepresentation, breach of contract, and, alternatively, promissory estoppel. The case was tried to the bench in December 2020….
The terms of the agreement effective at the time of Hensley’s arrest provided that NALGD would “defend and assist its members for the use of force to counter an immediate threat of violence or a countermeasure that involve[d] defending oneself or the well-being of another from physical harm by the use of[ ] any type, kind, or make of” a delineated list of weapons. Specifically, the agreement provided unlimited coverage for attorney’s fees and up to $1,000,000 of coverage per occurrence for various other legal expenses such as bail bonds, travel, and trial costs….
Article from Latest