February 23, 2024

Kelley Kronenberg Wins Summary Judgment on $5.6M First-Party Property Insurance Dispute

Kelley Kronenberg Partner Ronald A. Lacayo, assisted by Partner and Business Unit Leader, Tiffany Rothenberg, Associate Alexis D. Garcia, and legal assistants Shellie Medford and Shari Cutlip, recently secured a significant win for our client, American Coastal Insurance Company in a case before Judge Edward Nicholas of Florida’s Twelfth Judicial Circuit.

In this late reported Hurricane Irma claim, SFR Services LLC sought over $5.6 million in damages for the replacement of 48 condominium roofs allegedly damaged by the storm. Despite American Coastal’s diligent investigation and repeated requests for crucial documentation, SFR remained uncooperative and opted to file suit rather than comply with the investigation.

Led by Ronald Lacayo, our legal team defended American Coastal’s position through vigorous advocacy and targeted discovery. After securing the necessary evidence, Ronald filed and argued American Coastal’s Motion for Summary Judgment based on SFR’s failure to provide prompt notice and the resulting prejudice to American Coastal’s investigation. The court agreed and issued a decisive ruling granting Summary Judgment in favor of our client. Specifically, the court held, “there is no reasonable argument that can be made that the [Insured] or SFR Services, LLC, acted ‘promptly’ in notifying [American Coastal] of the damages after the date of the loss and no reasonable argument can be made that American Coastal did not suffer prejudice as a result of the inexplicably long delay. Ultimately, after a thorough review of the facts, this is not a close call.” The court dismissed SFR’s attempts to challenge our evidence and rejected its attempts to overcome the prejudice from the late reporting, citing them as “unsupported generalizations” lacking substantive analysis.

This victory not only vindicates American Coastal’s position but also underscores the importance of timely and transparent communication in insurance claims. Furthermore, this outcome positions American Coastal to pursue recovery of its attorneys’ fees from SFR, further solidifying the importance of complying with the policy’s terms and duties.

To read the Court’s Order, click here.