FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 10, 2020
Contact:Eric W. Boyer, Esq.
305.670.1101 Ext. 1023
QPWB WINS PROPERTY INSURANCE TRIAL
Solorzano v. Citizens Property Insurance Corporation
TAMPA, Fla. ― QPWB trial attorneys, Judd W. Goodall, a partner and team lead in the Tampa office, and Ashley M. Powell, an associate, obtained a complete defense verdict on behalf of Citizens Property Insurance Corporation in Hillsborough County against a prominent plaintiff’s trial firm.
The plaintiff alleged breach of contract based on a 2014 denied roof and interior water damage claim. The investigation by Citizens determined there was no peril created opening and revealed the damages sought by the plaintiff were excluded under the policy. Before the 2014 claim, the plaintiff made two other claims, including a 2011 roof and interior damage claim, for which the insurance company issued payment. Plaintiff testified making repairs to the property with the insurance money received in the 2011 claim and that the 2014 damages were new.
During cross-examination, the defense impeached the plaintiff several times demonstrating to the jury plaintiff was giving them different testimony than what was testified to previously; including showing the 2011 damages had not been repaired. The defense’s development of this evidence conclusively established to the jury the testimony of the plaintiff was not credible nor trustworthy.
The defense showed the jury that the plaintiff’s expert contractor had little to no knowledge about the roof or alleged damage. On cross-examination he admitted not knowing how the roof was constructed nor having been on the roof or within the attic. On cross-examination of plaintiff’s engineering expert, the defense once again showed the testimony could not be trusted.
Conversely, the defense called an expert structural engineer that had thoroughly investigated the complete building structure and had taken over 800 photos of the roof, attic space, and interior of the home. He also compared the condition of the home with the photos taken in 2011. The expert conveyed to the jury the type of roof and the cause of the alleged damage from the roof, which was 40 years old, worn out, not properly maintained or ever repaired. He also testified there were no storm events that tore an opening into the roof that would have allowed water intrusion and that the average wind speed on the date of loss was less than 5 mph.
In closing argument, the defense not only pointed out that the roof was well beyond its life expectancy and was definitely not leaking due to any peril created opening, but also showed the jury photographs of the damage claimed in 2014 that was the identical damage that had been paid for in 2011. Despite testifying to the jury plaintiff had made repairs after the 2011 claim, it was clearly evident that the plaintiff’s testimony was not true and that repairs were never made.
The jury deliberated for approximately 30 minutes and returned a completed Defense Verdict. A Proposal for Settlement had been served upon the plaintiff, which will provide a basis for collecting attorney fees along with defense costs as the defendant was the prevailing party.
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Judd W. Goodall, a partner in Tampa, manages a team of property insurance attorneys that focus their practice on first and third party insurance defense. For over 15 years, Mr. Goodall has defended thousands of litigated insurance claims on behalf of insurance carriers and has successfully defended many to defense verdict. In addition to representing insurance companies in first-party actions, his career experience includes litigating and defending many complex liability cases on behalf of property owners, construction companies, medical professionals, health care facilities, claims of employment discrimination, violations of the Florida’s Civil Rights Act, and various theories of medical malpractice, auto negligence, personal injury and wrongful death. He received his law degree from Stetson University College of Law in 2003 and is admitted to practice in Florida and the U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida.
Ashley M. Powell, an associate in Tampa, focuses on insurance defense and handles first-party property disputes and insurance coverage and bad faith claims litigation. Her practice is also emphasized in general civil litigation, premises liability, and general negligence claims. She received her law degree from the University of Florida Levin College of Law in 2015. Ms. Powell is admitted to practice in Florida and in the U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida.
Quintairos, Prieto, Wood & Boyer, P.A. is the largest minority and women owned law firm in the nation with more than 400 lawyers serving clients from 24 offices in the United States 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.