October 19, 2023

Kelley Kronenberg Obtains Final Summary Judgment in USAA Windstorm Claim

Kelley Kronenberg Practice Group Partner, Anthony Caserta, secured a Final Summary Judgment on behalf of USAA Casualty Insurance Company in Hillsborough County. This case revolved around a 2021 windstorm claim, with the central issue being whether Plaintiffs could demonstrate that the damage occurred within the policy period.  

During depositions, Plaintiffs’ testimony revealed that all interior damage preexisted the claimed date of loss. In other words, they were unable to establish that the damage had occurred within the policy’s coverage period. 

In their efforts to support their case, Plaintiffs attempted to rely on an engineer’s report, but they later removed this report from their witness list. Importantly, there was no affidavit or testimony to substantiate the engineer’s alleged findings, rendering the report inadmissible as hearsay, particularly after defense arguments. 

This legal triumph proved to be a significant win for our client, as it averted a potential risk initially valued at over $200,000.00. It’s worth noting that the initial demand from Plaintiffs stood at $340,000.00, and their final demand prior to the Final Summary Judgment hearing was $205,000.00. 

In her Order, Judge Emily A. Peacock made several key points:  

  1. Plaintiffs testified during depositions that they couldn’t recall any specific windstorm or weather event that occurred.
  2. Crucially, Plaintiffs failed to provide any record evidence to establish that the damage fell within the “insuring clause” of the policy, that the loss claimed was covered by the policy’s provisions, or that the property suffered the loss while the policy was in effect.
  3. 3. Consequently, Plaintiffs were unable to meet their initial burden of proving the facts necessary to bring a claim under the property damage insurance policy.

Given these findings, the Court concluded there were no genuine issues of material fact that a reasonable jury could rely on to rule in favor of Plaintiffs and, as a result, the Defendant, USAA Casualty Insurance Company, was entitled to the entry of summary judgment in its favor. The Court, therefore, granted the Defendant’s Motion, and the Plaintiffs were denied any recovery in this action.