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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:On March 20, 1997, Barry Boyd was driving on a Houston freeway when his car hit a guardrail. Boyd filed a claim with his insurer, Progressive County Mutual Insurance Co. Boyd’s policy had uninsured/underinsured-motorist coverage protecting Boyd in the event that he was struck by an uninsured motor vehicle. That term was further defined to include a “hit and run vehicle whose operator or owner cannot be identified.” Boyd claimed his car was rear-ended by an unidentified car. Progressive investigated the claim and denied it. Boyd sued Progressive for breach of contract and bad faith under Deceptive Trade Practices Act 17.46 and 17.50, Texas Insurance Code Article 21.21, and the common law. Boyd also alleged that Progressive’s failure to timely pay his claim violated Insurance Code Article 21.55. Finally, Boyd alleged that Progressive’s refusal to pay the inoperable car’s storage fees at a private storage lot caused his car to be converted. The trial court severed the extra-contractual claims from the breach-of-contract claim. Progressive moved for summary judgment on the extra-contractual claims, which the trial court granted. The breach-of-contract claim went to a jury, which found that Boyd had not been in a car accident with an uninsured vehicle. The court of appeals considered both judgments at the same time. The court of appeals affirmed the trial court’s judgment on the breach-of-contract claim, but reversed the summary judgment on the extra-contractual claims. Among the reasons cited by the appeals court for reversal was that the summary judgment could not be affirmed on appeal for reasons not raised at the trial level. HOLDING:Reversed and rendered. While agreeing that summary judgment cannot be affirmed based on grounds not raised at trial, the court notes that a trial court’s erroneous grant of summary judgment can be rendered harmless by subsequent events. “In this case, the breach of contract claim was fully litigated after the summary judgment was granted. The subsequent trial, jury finding, and take-nothing judgment which was affirmed on appeal as to Boyd’s coverage claim negate Boyd’s extra-contractual claims. Boyd does not argue otherwise. We conclude that the subsequent events, being properly before the court of appeals and this Court, should be considered in determining harm from the trial court’s grant of summary judgment. . . . We also conclude that these events demonstrate that there is no remaining issue of material fact.” For instance, the jury’s finding that Boyd lacked coverage negates Boyd’s conversion claim. Boyd’s claim that Progressive violated Art. 21.55 is also negated by the lack of coverage. Boyd alleged that Progressive improperly denied his claim and failed to fairly investigate the facts of the accident. He did not allege that he suffered any damages unrelated to and independent of the policy claim. This claim is thus also negated by the determination in the breach-of-contract claim that there was no coverage. If the trial court erred in granting summary judgment on the common-law bad-faith claims, the error was harmless. Because the common-law bad-faith standard is the same as the statutory standard, Boyd’s claim for treble damages under Art. 21.21 and DTPA 17.46 likewise fails. OPINION:Per curiam; Willett, J., did not participate in the decision.

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