September 6, 2022Share
With Over $250K at Risk, Partners Eric Gressman and Michelle Sealey Secure Complete Defense Verdict
Kelley Kronenberg Partners, Eric Gressman, and Michelle Sealey, obtained a complete defense verdict following a seven-day trial held in Miami-Dade County. The case involved two first-party property insurance claims that had been consolidated for discovery and trial purposes; the damages sought exceeded $250,000.00.
Plaintiffs reported two (2) separate water losses within one month. Prior to reporting the loss, Plaintiffs hired a loss consultant and an attorney; they also mitigated their losses, replacing the cause of the loss. Upon receiving notice of the loss, the Insurance Carrier promptly inspected and evaluated the claims; during this process, Plaintiffs submitted a Sworn Proof of Loss containing an estimate for each claim. Thereafter, the Insurance Carrier issued payment to the Plaintiffs for the losses, pursuant to applicable policy provisions. In addition, the water mitigation invoices were paid for each claim. Following said payments, Plaintiffs filed suit.
Plaintiffs were claiming approximately $250,000.00 inclusive of fees and costs prior to trial. Defendants submitted a Proposal for Settlement in both cases. Plaintiffs declined the offer and, in turn, threatened a multiplier and bad faith actions. Confident in our client’s position, Attorneys Gressman and Sealey proceeded to trial, during which they also rejected a demand of $50,000.00 for indemnity with a stipulation for attorney’s fees and costs.
At trial, Defendant’s position was Plaintiffs misrepresented the scope of damages sustained, as reflected in the Sworn Proofs of Loss and estimates. The First Party Property team relied upon Defendant’s Corporate Representative whose testimony during three depositions and trial illustrated the alleged damages were exaggerated, overlapping, and duplicated. Despite the testimony rendered during these depositions, Plaintiffs failed to revise or withdraw the previously submitted estimate. On this basis, Attorneys Gressman and Sealey asserted Plaintiffs’ statements rose to the level of a material misrepresentation.
Upon conclusion of the seven-day trial, the jury deliberated and returned a complete defense verdict, disposing of two cases for our clients and averting post-trial exposure estimated at more than $350,000.00.