In summer 2017, a 10-year-old died in an ATV accident at his grandparents’ house. The boy’s mom sued the grandparents, the Richards. The Richards asked their insurer, State Farm, to defend (and if necessary, indemnify) them. But State Farm refused and sought a declaration in federal court that it had no duty to defend or indemnify.
In doing so, State Farm relied on extrinsic evidence. The Richards argued that the district court could not consider that evidence under Texas’s eight-corners rule. This case thus involves important and determinative questions of Texas law, as to which there is no controlling Texas Supreme Court precedent. So we decline to make an Erie guess and instead certify questions to the Supreme Court of Texas.
IV. QUESTION CERTIFIED
We hereby certify the following question of law to the Supreme Court of Texas:
1. Is the policy-language exception to the eight-corners rule articulated in B. Hall Contracting Inc. v. Evanston Ins. Co., 447 F. Supp. 2d 634 (N.D. Tex. 2006), a permissible exception under Texas law?
We disclaim any intention or desire that the Supreme Court of Texas confine its reply to the precise form or scope of the question certified.