29 April, 2024

Fitch Defends Against Premature Claim of Delayed Service In Florida Insurance Appraisal Lawsuit

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In: Verdicts

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Comments: 0

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Orlando-Hub Partner, Jennifer L. Fitch's unwavering determination and defense effectively countered the plaintiff's claim for fees by demonstrating that the ongoing appraisal process rendered the lawsuit unnecessary, refuting allegations of delay and emphasizing the procedural milestones. Their persuasive argument not only secured a favorable outcome but also established a precedent that could discourage similar premature suits in the future.

Overview of the Case

  • The Plaintiff contended they were entitled to fees because they brought suit pursuant to Florida State 627.70152, asserting this was sufficient grounds to obtain fees.
  • Our argument countered that the suit was unnecessary as appraisal was already underway when the suit was filed, thus precluding the entitlement to fees.
  • Furthermore, we asserted that the 90-day appraisal deadline outlined in Fla Stat 627.70152 was not an absolute deadline for completion but rather a milestone preceding the initiation of a suit by the Plaintiff.
  • Additionally, we argued, based on the emails provided by the Plaintiff, that Citizens had not been provided with details of their appraiser until after the deadline outlined in the policy. This contradicted OC's claim that Citizens had caused delays in the appraisal process.

Claims Made Against Our Client

  • Citizens was accused of delaying the appraisal process.
  • The appraisal process exceeded the 90-day timeframe.
  • It was argued that filing suit was necessary to ensure the completion of the appraisal.
  • Payment of the appraisal was considered a confession of judgment.

Defensive Strategy

  • We focused on interpreting the actual language of the statute to argue that the 90-day period was not intended as a strict deadline for completing the appraisal process.
  • Utilizing the Plaintiff's emails, we demonstrated that Citizens did not cause any delays in the appraisal proceedings.
  • We cited relevant case law to support our contention that the appraisal process does not equate to a confession of judgment under similar circumstances.
  • We argued that there was no necessity for the Plaintiff to file suit since the appraisal process was progressing as expected.

Impact on Final Outcome

  • Providing a clear timeline appeared to significantly aid the Judge in understanding the case.
  • We emphasized the involvement of deposited 627.70152 and argued that the policy dictated the appraisal process and when filing suit was appropriate.
  • It was advantageous that the Judge demonstrated a strong comprehension of both the policy and the intricacies of the appraisal process.

Predicting the Future

  • The detailed 47-page order provided by the Judge is the type of document that can be relied upon for similar arguments not only by QPWB but also by Citizens.
  • Indeed, Citizens has already shared the order with another defense firm facing a similar argument.
  • Overall, it will serve to deter Plaintiffs' counsel in the future from prematurely filing suit in appraisal cases due to concerns about not receiving fees or costs from the carrier.

About QPWB

Quintairos, Prieto, Wood & Boyer, P.A., is the largest minority and women-owned law firm in the nation with jurisdiction in 45 states and territories in the U.S. allowing us to serve a broad spectrum of industries with over 100 areas of practice. Our lawyers provide representation for businesses and their leaders in litigation, regulatory, and corporate matters.

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