Thursday, October 28, 2010

Insurance Appraisal: What Comes First A Coverage Or Damage Determination?

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.

[I typed this post on the date that is indicated as its publication date.  I saw THIS post on Abstract Appeal and realized I had never officially published my post.  Thanks to Matt at Abstract Appeal!]


Post a Comment