In Citizens Property Insurance Company v. Michigan Condominium Association (4D10-1794), the Fourth District concluded that the trial court erred by ordering an appraisal without first determining coverage disputes. The court certified conflict with Sunshine State Ins. Co. v. Rawlins, 34 So. 3d 753 (Fla. 3d DCA 2010), which was discussed in an earlier post HERE. There are other opinions, including an en banc opinion, from the Third District which it also conflicts with, however, the court did not note conflict with those decisions. The Fourth District stated:
We appreciate the third district’s rationale that the dual-track approach may save “‘judicial resources which might otherwise be required in resolving the factual and legal issues involved in the [coverage issue] by a relatively swift and informal decision by the appraisers as to the amount of the loss.’”...However, we believe that “[a] finding of liability necessarily precedes a determination of damages.”UPDATE: It is noteworthy that while the court did certify conflict, jurisdiction of the Florida Supreme Court was not invoked. Therefore, this conflict will remain and will have to be resolved another day.