When obtaining insurance coverage, businesses must be wary of policy exclusions that are so broad that they defeat the policy’s primary purpose and render coverage illusory. In Travelers Property Casualty Company of America v. H.E. Sutton Forwarding Co., LLC, No. 2:21-CV-719-JES-KCD, 2023 WL 5486746 (M.D. Fla. Aug. 24, 2023), the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida considered this very issue in deciding when a policy exclusion goes too far.Continue Reading Air Horse One: Florida Sets a High Bar to Find Insurance Coverage Illusory
A federal court recently denied an insurer’s motion to dismiss an insured’s claim for declaratory relief. The insurer argued that the policyholder’s declaratory judgment claim was redundant of its breach of contract claim. The Court ruled that “redundancy is not grounds for dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6).”
In The United Church of Marco Island, Inc. v. Lexington Insurance Company , the policyholder, The United Church of Marco Island, Inc., fell victim to a $1.2 million fraud after a series of emails impersonating church officials and a Registered Financial Advisor who had a relationship with the Church resulted in the Church sending funds to an “illicit bank account.” The Church was able to recover $600,000 and sought coverage under its Commercial Crime Policy issued by Lexington Insurance Company for the remaining $600,000.
Continue Reading Insurer Can’t Dismiss Church’s Claim for Declaratory Relief
Congratulations to Alice Weeks, an associate on Hunton Andrews Kurth’s insurance coverage team, for being selected to the Miami Dade Bar’s Circle of Excellence for Insurance Litigation.
The Circle of Excellence award is awarded to peer-selected attorneys in their area of practice. Alice was selected from among many highly qualified nominees and was recognized at the Miami Dade Bar’s Judicial Reception. Alice is a past board member of the Miami Dade Bar YLS, as well as past-editor of the Miami Dade Bar’s newsletter, the Bulletin. Alice’s Circle of Excellence selection follows her recent selection to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s 40 Under 40 Outstanding Young Professionals of South Florida and her receipt of the Miami Dade Bar’s 40 Under 40 Award.
As discussed in a recent client alert, on March 24, 2023, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed House Bill (HB) 837 into law, making it more difficult and costly for insurance policyholders of all sizes to sue insurers for bad faith by eliminating fee-shifting for most policyholders and requiring something “more than” negligence for bad faith claims.
Continue Reading Florida Enacts Sweeping Tort Reform Legislation, Raising Barriers to Insurance Coverage Claims
Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP recently wrote about the Eleventh Circuit decision in McNamara v. Gov’t Employees Ins. Co., 30 F.4th 1055 (11th Cir. 2022) (“McNamara”), where the court held that a consensual settlement (such as a consent judgment) serves as an excess judgment for the purposes of a bad faith claim. In a follow up decision, the Eleventh Circuit extended its McNamara reasoning to a case involving an accepted proposal for settlement. In Potter v. Progressive American Insurance Company, No. 21-11134 (11th Cir. 2022), Daniel Lee and Jolene Potter brought a third-party bad faith action against the insurer, Progressive. The Potters were involved in an automobile accident with Progressive’s insured, under an automotive liability policy with bodily injury limits of $10,000 per person. The Potters sued Progressive’s insured and ultimately served a proposal for settlement, pursuant to Fla. Stat. § 768.79, totaling $125,000. The insured accepted the proposal, a final judgment was entered, and the Potters sued Progressive for bad faith.
Continue Reading Judgment (Still) Means Judgment: The Eleventh Circuit Extends McNamara to a Proposal for Settlement
In a recently published opinion, the Eleventh Circuit revisited – and departed from – its prior, unpublished decision in Cawthorn v. Auto-Owners Insurance Co., 791 F. App’x 60 (11th Cir. 2019). The Court held that a final judgment that exceeds all available liability policy limits, whether such judgment results from a jury verdict or a consensual settlement, constitutes an “excess judgment” that can be used to satisfy the causation requirement of an insurer bad faith claim in Florida.
Continue Reading Judgment Means Judgment: The Eleventh Circuit Reestablishes that a Consensual Excess Settlement Can be Used to Satisfy Causation Prong of Bad Faith