June 4, 2024

Kelley Kronenberg Secures Dismissal of Hurricane Ian Claim with Value Over $230k

Kelley Kronenberg Partner Kurt Ciell, of the firm’s First-Party Property Division, secured the dismissal of a lawsuit over a disputed Hurricane Ian insurance claim, carrying exposure of more than $230,000.00. The plaintiff, an assignment of benefits (AOB) contractor, sued our insurance company client, alleging breach of contract and seeking a massive $180,000.00 payout, plus attorney’s fees. 

The case, heard before Magistrate Hon. Pamela Barger in Florida’s Collier County, centered on the validity and terms of the AOB agreement between the plaintiff and the carrier’s policyholders. In a bold move, Kurt strategically moved to dismiss the complaint. 

Leveraging a recent Florida appellate court precedent, Kurt argued that even if the AOB agreement was enforceable, its terms did not permit the plaintiff to initiate litigation against the carrier over the coverage decision itself. The agreement allowed the plaintiff to collect insurance payments only if coverage was already determined. 

In a thorough Report and Recommendation, Magistrate Barger agreed with the firm’s interpretation of the AOB contract language. She recommended dismissal of the plaintiff’s suit with prejudice as to standing, but without prejudice as to the claim’s merits to allow policyholders to potentially refile. 

On April 30, 2024, U.S. District Judge Lauren Brodie adopted Magistrate Barger’s recommendation in full, upholding Kurt’s position and dismissing the case against our client. 

To stay updated on the most important developments in first-party property law, read our newsletter, “In the Know: First-Party Property Edition.” Get the latest issue:  https://www.kelleykronenberg.com/newsletter/first-party-property-newsletter-april-may-2024-edition/