Tex Dep’t of Ins. v. Stonewater Roofing, Ltd.
- Case number: 22-0427
- Legal category: Constitutional Law
- Subtype: Free Speech
- Set for oral argument: October 26, 2023
At issue in this case is whether the statutory licensing requirement and conflict‑of‑interest prohibition for public insurance adjusting are content‑based restraints of free speech subject to heightened scrutiny under the First Amendment.
Stonewater, a Texas‑based roofing company, offers commercial and residential customers services that include repairing and replacing roofing systems. Although Stonewater is not a licensed public insurance adjuster, its website promotes extensive experience in dealing with the insurance claims process. The assertions on Stonewater’s website implicate two Insurance Code provisions. The first, Section 4102.051(a), provides that a person may not act or hold himself out as a public insurance adjuster unless he is licensed. The second, Section 4102.163(a), bars contractors from both acting as public insurance adjusters and marketing claim-adjustment capabilities for projects they undertake.
Stonewater sued the Texas Department of Insurance, seeking a declaration that the two provisions violate the First Amendment and are unconstitutionally vague. The Department filed a motion to dismiss, which the trial court granted. The court of appeals reversed and remanded, holding that Stonewater’s pleadings demonstrated an adequate basis in law and fact as to both its constitutional claims.
In its petition for review, the Department argues that the challenged provisions do not violate Stonewater’s free speech rights because they regulate professional conduct with only an incidental effect on speech. Additionally, the Department argues that Stonewater’s conduct clearly violates the challenged laws, foreclosing the company’s vagueness claim.
The Court granted the Department’s petition for review.
Case summaries are created by the Court's staff attorneys and law clerks and do not constitute the Court’s official descriptions or statements. Readers are encouraged to review the Court’s official opinions for specifics regarding each case. Links to the full case documents are included above.