April 5, 2023

Kelley Kronenberg Prevails on Appeal Preserving Defendant’s Summary Judgment Win

After the insurance carrier was awarded summary judgment at the trial court level, Kelley Kronenberg Partner, Kimberly Fernandes, prevailed on Plaintiff’s appeal. Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s summary judgment in favor of Citizens Property Insurance Corporation without a written opinion. 

At the lower level, Defendant filed a Motion for Summary Judgment which was granted by the trial court based upon a rejection of Plaintiff’s expert engineer opinions because the report and statements were so contradictory and inconsistent that they did not constitute competent evidence upon which the judge could rely. On appeal, Plaintiff argued the trial court’s rejection of the expert’s statements and opinions constituted a credibility finding, which is improper for summary judgment. Responsively, Ms. Fernandes argued the trial judge did not weigh the credibility of the witness, the judge wholly rejected the evidence because it was internally inconsistent and was not based upon facts in the record.  

The Fourth DCA rejected Plaintiff’s argument and issued a Per Curiam Affirmance in favor of our client. This opinion upheld the trial court’s summary judgment in favor of the carrier, averting coverage for interior and exterior dwelling damage. Additionally, the Fourth DCA granted Defendant’s motion for appellate attorney fees based upon Plaintiff’s prior rejection of a proposal for settlement served by the carrier.