August 27, 2020

Contact:Eric W. Boyer, Esq.
Managing Partner
305.670.1101 Ext. 1023


Insurance Defense/First-Party Property

Lance M. Litman

Lance M. Litman

Melinda Shabka

Melinda Shabka

ORLANDO ― QPWB Tampa office attorneys, Melinda Shabka and Lance M. Litman, represented the insurer, ASI Preferred Insurance Corp., “ASI Preferred.”  The plaintiff, a construction company who secured an assignment of benefits through the named insured, sued ASI Preferred for an alleged breach of contract in failing to provide benefits as a result of damages sustained to the insured’s property.  In addition, the plaintiff construction company included a second count, seeking declaratory relief.  The underlying property claim had been reported by the insured, and ASI Preferred promptly completed its inspection and investigation which resulted in a denial after finding no damage.  Approximately six months after the plaintiff construction company filed suit, the insured sold the property that was the subject of the insurance policy and lawsuit.

The defense submitted a Motion for Final Summary Judgment and Incorporated Memorandum of Law arguing that because the insured’s claim had been denied, as opposed to either being covered or pending, at the time the insured conveyed title to non-interested party, the underlying matter then became moot and the plaintiff construction company no longer had standing.  Opposing counsel for the plaintiff construction company filed a response wherein they argued plaintiff’s standing, which was proper at the filing of the lawsuit based on the alleged breach of contract, could not subsequently be terminated by way of the insured’s sale of the real property.

The matter proceeded to a hearing for oral argument with Circuit Court Judge, Honorable Lisa T. Munyon presiding. The defense argued that its position was not that the insured’s sale of the real property terminated standing, but rather because ASI Preferred had denied the insurance claim, and there was no evidence put forth by the plaintiff construction company to rebut the denial before the insured’s sale of the real property, that the matter had been rendered moot, and it followed that plaintiff no longer had standing.

Honorable Lisa T. Munyon agreed with the defense and granted the Motion for Final Summary Judgment and Incorporated Memorandum of Law on two counts.  The Court entered a Final Judgment in favor of the defense.

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Melinda Shabka is a partner in the Tampa office. She focuses on insurance defense litigation in the areas of first-party property, general liability, and workers’ compensation. Ms. Shabka is a Certified County Court Mediator. She received her law degree from St. Thomas University School of Law and a Master of Science summa cum laude from St. Thomas University in 2006. Ms. Shabka is admitted to practice in Florida.

Lance M. Litman is an associate in the Tampa office focusing on insurance defense, general liability, first-party property claims, personal injury, and premise liability. He received his law degree from Florida State University College of Law in 2009 and is admitted to practice in Florida.

About QPWB

Quintairos, Prieto, Wood & Boyer, P.A., is the largest minority and women owned law firm in the nation with 23 offices in the U.S. and abroad across a spectrum of industries in over 40 areas of practice. Our lawyers provide representation in litigation, business, real estate and governmental law.


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