June 6, 2024

Kelley Kronenberg Wins Summary Judgment in First-Party Property Case with $300K Exposure

In a resounding victory, Kelley Kronenberg’s Partner Danielle Wallis, Partner/Business Unit Leader Michelle Sealey, and Chair of First-Party Property Jeff Wank successfully secured a summary judgment for our insurance company client, protecting them from an estimated exposure of $300,000.00. 

The case, heard by Judge Martin Bidwill, involved a breach of contract action stemming from a first-party property homeowners insurance claim dispute. The insureds reported a water backup and overflow from their master bathroom shower drain on April 24, 2022. Our client issued a payment of $6,526.57 to the insureds, but their public adjuster submitted a Replacement Cost Value (RCV) estimate exceeding $273,000.00, seeking a full remodel based on the argument that the carrier was responsible for tear-out and replacement of the failed plumbing system. 

The plaintiffs filed suit asserting claims for Breach of Contract and Declaratory Relief, seeking damages exceeding $273,000.00. However, our team argued that the defendant could not have conceivably breached the policy contract by acknowledging coverage for Actual Cash Value (ACV) pursuant to the policy terms. Furthermore, the plaintiffs never submitted any supplemental ACV claim or competing ACV estimate to dispute the defendant’s ACV coverage determination prior to the suit. 

Applying Florida’s summary judgment standard, the Court granted the defendant’s motion, indicating that there was no genuine dispute over any material fact and that the defendant was entitled to judgment as a matter of law. The Court agreed with our team’s argument that under the policy and Florida law, the insurer was only required to initially pay the ACV and then pay for actual repairs as they occurred, without deduction for depreciation. 

Learn more about our First-Party Property Insurance Defense practice. Click here: https://www.kelleykronenberg.com/our-practices/first-party-insurance-defense-coverage-bad-faith/  

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/