June 18, 2021

Kelley Kronenberg Obtains Complete Defense Verdict in Hurricane Irma Case

On June 17, 2021, Kelley Kronenberg obtained a complete defense verdict involving a first-party property insurance claim in Broward County Circuit Court.

Eric Gressman, a Business Unit Leader in the Miami office and Charles Prior, a Partner in the West Palm Beach office, were able to successfully obtain the verdict in favor of the insurance carrier over the course of a three-day jury trial. This was one of the first in-person jury trials in Broward County since the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Plaintiff alleged that her property, specifically the roof, interior and exterior, was damaged as a result of Hurricane Irma. The Plaintiff reported the claim to the insurance carrier in March 2018. The insurance carrier timely inspected the property and found that the storm did not cause damage to the roof, but rather, determined that the damage was due to wear, tear, and deterioration. The insurance carrier accepted partial coverage and allowed for repairs to the fence and windows at the property. The total amount of damages fell below the homeowner’s hurricane deductible. There was no coverage for the damage to the roof or interior of the property due to policy exclusions. Plaintiff disagreed with the coverage decision and valuation of damages and filed a breach of contract lawsuit.

During suit, the main point of contention was the roof and interior water damages. In support of Plaintiff’s position, the Plaintiff submitted reports from a professional engineer and loss consultant. At trial, the Plaintiff submitted evidence that the damages were a result of Hurricane Irma and exceeded the policy deductible. The Defense, led by Gressman and Prior, presented evidence that the loss was not due to Hurricane Irma, and was excluded under the Policy. Following deliberations, the Jury rendered a complete defense verdict.