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Kelley Kronenberg Case Law Update: People’s Trust v. Island Roofing – Standing

April 13, 2021

People’s Trust Ins. Co. v. Island Roofing & Restoration, LLC a/a/o Kenneth Rodger & Sharon Rodger, Fla. 2d DCA April 7, 2021, 2D20-1171

People’s Trust Insurance Company (“Insurance Company”) sought certiorari review of the trial court’s order granting its motion to dismiss Island Roofing & Restoration, LLC’s (“Island Roofing”) amended complaint without prejudice.  The trial court permitted Island Roofing to file a second amended complaint substituting plaintiffs.  The court found that the trial court erred in allowing substitution of party plaintiffs, but that the error did not amount to irreparable harm that cannot be remedied on appeal and dismissed the petition.

Following Hurricane Irma, Kenneth and Sharon Rodger (“the Insureds”) executed an assignment of benefits (“AOB”) to Island Roofing.  Island Roofing brought a breach of contract suit against the Insurance Company, claiming the Insurance Company failed to pay Island Roofing the amounts due.  The Insurance Company argued that Island Roofing lacked standing because the Insureds executed an AOB to another roofing company, EZ Roofing, and the Small Business Administration, before they attempted the assignment to Island Roofing, and this lack of standing could not be remedied during the pendency of the case. As such, dismissal was required.  The trial court initially agreed and dismissed the case with prejudice. Then, Island Roofing made an ore tenus motion to substitute the insureds as plaintiffs, drop Island Roofing, and agreed to attach a release of the EZ Roofing AOB. The lower court granted the motion to dismiss without prejudice and permitted Island Roofing to amend its complaint a second time over the Insurance Company’s objection that there were no grounds to allow substitution of the plaintiff under Fla. R. Civ. P. rule 1.260.

The court indicated that this was an improper substitution and opined, “the trial court’s ruling allowing this two-step substitution of plaintiff constituted a violation of a clearly established principle of law.” The court, citing to Figueroa v. Fed. Nat’l Mortg. Ass’n, stated, “[A] ‘party must have standing to file suit at its inception and may not remedy this defect by subsequently obtaining standing.’”  Ultimately though, the Insurance Company was unable to establish that the error resulted in irreparable harm, and the petition was dismissed.

 

Authored By:

 

Andrea DeMichael
Attorney, Tallahassee