August 17, 2022

KK Prevails on Motion for Summary Final Judgment for First Protective Insurance Company

Kelley Kronenberg First Party Property Attorney, Erica Showell, along with Chair of First Party Property, Jeffrey Wank, and Partner, Derek Goldsmith, secured full judgment for First Protective Insurance Company involving a late reported Hurricane Irma loss. The Honorable Michael McHugh presided.  

Plaintiffs reported a Hurricane Irma claim almost three years after the loss. First Protective denied the claim due to the Plaintiffs failure to provide prompt notice of the loss, and the prejudice to its investigation. Plaintiffs brought a breach of contract action claiming interior and exterior damages, including roof replacement, which they attributed to Hurricane Irma. Once procedurally proper, Erica filed Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment based on the Plaintiffs failure to provide prompt notice and the prejudice to First Protective’s investigation. After hearing argument of counsel, the Court found that Plaintiffs breached their contract of insurance by failing to provide prompt notice of the loss, creating a presumption of prejudice for First Protective. Partial summary judgment was entered in First Protective’s favor. The Court found that Plaintiffs rebutted the presumption of prejudice with an engineer report. The Court added to its ruling that depositions remained in progress.   

Shortly thereafter, the Third District Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Perez v. Citizens Property, a case with facts parallel to ours, wherein it affirmed the lower court’s summary judgment on behalf of Citizens. With this as a premise and depositions having been completed, Erica filed a Motion for Reconsideration of the Court’s Partial Summary Judgment. At hearing on First Protective’s Motion for Reconsideration, the Judge granted First Protective’s motion. In the Court’s Order, the judge reiterated that Plaintiffs breached the notice provision and added, “[the] delay in reporting their loss . . . rendered it impossible for First Protective to determine the full extent of the claimed damages.” Adopting the reasoning of Perez, the Court concluded Plaintiffs could not rebut the presumption of prejudice to First Protective, securing Final Summary Judgment in First Protective’s favor.