August 31, 2023

Victory in Orange County: Motion for Summary Judgment Granted in First-Party Property Case

Kelley Kronenberg Attorney, Coral Lerner, alongside Partner, Scott Dornstein, secured a significant victory in First-Party Property case pending in Orange County, Florida, shielding our client from potential judgment. The Honorable Andrew L. Cameron, of Florida’s Ninth Judicial Circuit, presided.  

In this case, the insured had entered into an Assignment of Benefits (AOB) with Air Quality Assessors to generate an engineer’s report detailing damages and necessary reparations to the property. The defendant, our client, asserted that this AOB was unenforceable. The grounds for this included the failure to provide a per-unit service cost estimate, containing a penalty clause for rescission, and an administrative fee provision, all of which violated Florida Statutes § 627.7152. 

In an assertive move, Coral Lerner filed a Motion for Summary Judgment, setting forth our client’s position and additional arguments revolving around the services not being compensable under the stated policy due to a lack of any policy provision benefiting the insured, which would cover Plaintiff’s service. In short, Ms. Lerner disputed the Plaintiff’s ability to prove the services rendered were a benefit payable under a policy provision. 

While the Court deemed the AOB valid, it agreed with Ms. Lerner’s argument regarding the services’ compensation. The Court held that the services provided by Plaintiff were not compensable under the policy. Moreover, the Court mentioned that the “report appears to contain no information that a layperson and/or entry-level tradesperson with common knowledge would not already possess. It reveals no relevant insight into what should be specifically done to repair the damage to the Insured’s property.” 

Plaintiff initially sought payment for the $3,000 engineering invoice, along with associated fees and costs. However, the well-argued motion for summary judgment brought by Lerner and Dornstein effectively protected our client, highlighting our firm’s commitment to safeguarding our clients’ interests.