November 29, 2022

Kelley Kronenberg Prevails On Motion For Final Summary Judgment

Kelley Kronenberg First Party Property attorney, Erica Showell, appeared on behalf of United Property and Casualty Insurance Company (“United”) in this Hurricane Irma action, in which she secured a Final Summary Judgment in our client’s favor. The Honorable Hugh D. Hayes presided.   

Plaintiff owns a home in Naples, Florida, which she insured through United for the policy period of March 15, 2017, through March 15, 2018. On June 6, 2020, she reported a claim for alleged damages related to Hurricane Irma, occurring on September 10, 2017. United acknowledged the late reported claim and to further its investigation, on June 25, 2020, requested Plaintiff complete and return a Sworn Proof of Loss within sixty days (60) of the letter. Second and third request to obtain a Sworn Proof of Loss were sent on July 23, 2020, and August 18, 2020, along with a request for estimates or invoices for repairs of the resultant damages. 

On September 6, 2020, United sent a letter informing Plaintiff that it had not received the information necessary to evaluate her loss, including the Sworn Proof of Loss. A similar e-mail was sent to Plaintiff one month later. Following its investigation, United issued correspondence to Plaintiff on October 7, 2020, advising the claim was being denied based on prejudice to its investigation due to her failure to provide prompt notice of the loss and comply with her duties after loss. Following the denial, Plaintiff filed suit against United for breach of contract, wherein damages in excess of $150,000.00 were sought.  

In defense of United, Erica Showell filed a Motion for Final Summary Judgment asserting the evidence showed as a matter of law Plaintiff failed to provide prompt notice of her claim to United and prejudice to United’s claim investigation. After considering the evidence and argument of both parties’ counsel, the Court granted United’s Motion for Final Summary Judgment. In his order, Judge Hayes concluded Plaintiff failed to provide proper notice of loss to United and failed to submit a Sworn Proof of Loss before filing suit; and United was prejudiced in its investigation as to the cause of the loss and the extent of the damages due to passage of time. Moreover, the Court found Plaintiff failed to provide evidence to rebut the prejudice established by United. As such, the Judge ruled Plaintiff shall recover nothing from United in the subject action, fully foreclosing upon Plaintiff’s claim for damages exceeding $150,000.00. Jurisdiction as to attorney’s fees and costs was reserved.