Eric W. Boyer
22 December 2022
BAY COUNTY, Fla. ― Jonathan M. Diocares and Timothy J. Sweeney trial attorneys at Quintairos, Prieto, Wood & Boyer, P.A., received final summary judgment against the plaintiff, a property restoration/water extraction company through an “Assignment of Benefits” (AOB Vendor), in its attempt to obtain unwarranted insurance benefits from the insurer premised on the policyholders’ loss from damages incurred at their property from Hurricane Michael on October 10, 2018.
The plaintiff presented the policyholder with invoices for mitigation and cleaning services totaling over $97,786. The insurer also received documentation from the restoration company for services rendered for water and cleaning mitigation. The policyholder submitted an affidavit asserting contracting with the restoration company to help mitigate damages caused by Hurricane Michael. Upon review of the invoices, it was clear several inconsistencies for work had not been completed and charging double for work only completed once. There was duplicity and inaccuracy of the estimate to defraud the insurer and misrepresent facts to obtain unwarranted insurance benefits.
The plaintiff sued the defendant claiming it reasonably priced estimates and stated that through an Assignment of Benefits it had not been fully paid by the defendant. The defendant affirmed “Conditions” on the policy provide “no coverage” for loss when one or more insureds intentionally conceal or misrepresent any material fact, engage in fraudulent conduct or make false statements. The plaintiff cited caselaw for the proposition that it was not a party to the policy and was not bound by provisions contained therein; nevertheless, opposing counsel was not compelled to pursue the argument.
During subject litigation, the plaintiff continued to improperly advance misrepresentations regarding the insurance claim: the plaintiff’s corporate representative twice provided conflicting sworn testimony as to material facts, in an affidavit and in a deposition, both instances under oath. The defense proved that the plaintiff intentionally concealed material facts regarding their services rendered at the property and misrepresented material facts regarding damages known not to have been completed at the property.
The defense received final summary judgment reserving jurisdiction to tax costs and attorney’s fees against the plaintiff based on any expired Proposals for Settlement.
# # #
Jonathan M. Diocares is a partner in the Jacksonville and Orlando offices of Quintairos, Prieto, Wood & Boyer, P.A. He focuses on first-party property insurance defense and coverage actions in his representation of insurers and insureds in claims arising from windstorm, sinkhole, fire, mold, water losses, theft, vandalism, fraud, PIP/SIU, and automobile negligence. His practice also consists in performing examinations under oath, and fraud investigations. Mr. Diocares handles all aspects of representation in state and federal courts. He received his Juris Doctor in 2011 from Florida Coastal School of Law.
Timothy J. Sweeney is an attorney in the Tampa office of Quintairos, Prieto, Wood & Boyer, P.A. He has over 33 years of experience and focuses his practice on insurance defense litigation representing insurers and insureds in first-party property and coverage actions. His practice encompasses general liability, personal injury and casualty, wrongful death actions, automotive liability, premises liability and negligent security actions. He received his Juris Doctor in 1988 from the University of Illinois College of Law.
QPWB is the largest minority and woman owned law firm in the nation. Our lawyers provide representation in litigation, business, real estate and governmental law.