January 4, 2024

Kelley Kronenberg Secures Victory in First-Party Property Appeal After Securing Lower Court Dismissal

Kelley Kronenberg Partner Kimberly Fernandes successfully navigated a first-party property insurance defense appeal, building on our victory at the lower court level. Partner Melanie Weseman played a crucial role in handling the underlying Motion to Dismiss that prompted the appeal.   

The case, initially heard by The Honorable Gregory Keyser, involved the dismissal of Plaintiffs’ Hurricane Irma lawsuit. The trial judge’s decision was based on Plaintiffs’ failure to comply with Florida Statutes, section 627.70152. Seeking coverage for damages exceeding $50,000 under their Hurricane Irma insurance claim, Plaintiffs argued on appeal that the judge had erroneously applied 627.70152 retroactively. They contended the statute was inapplicable to their case because the policy period preceded the enactment of 627.70152.  

Kimberly Fernandes countered this argument by citing the Fourth District Court of Appeal’s precedent in the case of Cole v. Universal Property & Casualty Insurance Company. The Fourth DCA had held that the crucial factor in determining the applicability of 627.70152 is the date of the lawsuit, not the date of the policy. Building on this precedent, Kimberly persuasively argued that the same principle should govern Plaintiffs’ case.  

In a resounding victory, the Fourth DCA affirmed the judge’s dismissal, citing their prior Cole opinion. This outcome not only secured our insurance company client’s success in this particular case but also established a precedent reinforcing the application of 627.70152 based on the date of the lawsuit.  

Notably, the affirmation of the dismissal means that any attempts by Plaintiffs to now comply with 627.70152 will be time-barred by the statute of limitations.