The Florida Third District Court of Appeal has upheld a summary judgment motion recently granted on behalf of a Bressler, Amery & Ross insurance client in a first party water damage claim case.
In the underlying case, the insured alleged there was a sudden water discharge in a bathroom that caused damages that were covered under the all-risk policy issued by SafePoint. The insurer denied the claim, arguing that the damages were the result of a long-term seepage and exposure to water and were excluded under the policy.
The trial court entered a summary judgment in favor of SafePoint, which was upheld by the Third District Court of Appeal on May 20. The appellate court ruled based on briefs from both sides, opting not to hold oral arguments.
The appellate court found that the insured failed to introduce any evidence to meet their burden of showing the damages were not caused by an excluded event. The trial court excluded an affidavit filed by the insured’s expert six months after his deposition, which directly contradicted his prior statement. Deshazior v. SafePoint Insurance Company, No. 3D18-2414, Fla. 3rd District Court of Appeal.
The underlying case and subsequent appeal involved the “constant or repeated…over a period of time,” language which is tricky in light of the Hicks v. American Integrity decision.
A group of lawyers from Bressler’s Florida Insurance Defense team represented SafePoint in the case and the appeal according to the team lead, Bressler Miami office Managing Principal Hope Zelinger. The firm’s Insurance Defense group in Florida continues to secure victories for its insurance company clients.
“As head of Bressler’s growing appellate practice in Florida, it is both an honor and a challenge to argue cases in the Third District Court of Appeal,” she said. “Our team was able to win this case by convincing the court that the summary judgment motion in the lower court was the right decision.”