July 3, 2023

Kelley Kronenberg Mounts Aggressive Defense Prompting Voluntary Dismissal with Prejudice

Kelley Kronenberg Partner, Todd Schwartz, successfully obtained a voluntary dismissal with prejudice from Plaintiffs after proceeding on Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment and Motion for Sanctions pursuant to Florida Statutes section 57.105. 

The case at bar involved a water backup in the bathroom of the insureds’ property. After Defendant’s engineer inspection observed long-term damages and concluded the loss was not the result of a sudden and accidental event, the insurance carrier denied the claim in its entirety.  

In the course of litigation, the insureds attempted to change the claim from a water claim to a cast-iron pipe claim. During deposition, one spouse testified he had to shut off the home’s water on a nightly basis for at least six-to-nine months prior to reporting the loss. Also at deposition, the other spouse testified the insurer’s date of loss reported was inaccurate, and the problem had been ongoing for months. 

Based on the above facts, Mr. Schwartz filed a Motion for Summary Judgment and Motion for Sanctions pursuant to 57.105, asserting that, per the insureds’ deposition testimony, there was no “sudden and accidental event.” Rather, Plaintiffs were experiencing a long-term issue in a poorly maintained home. Mr. Schwartz advanced the position that the claim had no merit based on the testimony of the insureds, as they admitted to long-term, ongoing leaks at the property and to being unaware of the specific date of loss. 

In the face of Mr. Schwartz’s motions, Plaintiffs filed a Notice of Voluntary Dismissal with Prejudice, walking away from a suit that had exposure estimated to exceed $200,000.00. Additionally, as Plaintiffs rejected Defendant’s Proposals for Settlement tendered two years prior, Mr. Schwartz’s aggressive strategy postured our client to seek attorney’s fees and costs.