Defense Verdict Obtained in Live Jury Trial
Partner, Robert Horwitz and Associate Adriana Kiszynski, obtained a defense verdict after a five-day live jury trial in Lee County, Florida. The Case involved a Hurricane Irma claim with an Assignment of Benefits from a roofing contractor. The Plaintiff, SFR Services LLC, sought approximately $122,000.00 in damages to replace the insureds’ tile roof, claiming Hurricane Irma caused damages throughout the roof including 50-60% of the roof “lifting and moving” due to the storm. The trial involved competing experts, with the plaintiff’s expert being permitted to testify despite even though he performed his first inspection the night before live trial testimony.
At trial, the defense was able to get the insured to admit that he never had his roof inspected at the time of purchase, had never gone up on his roof to see any damage and had never contacted his carrier until he was visited by the AOB contactor. Even more compromising was the fact he admitted he was demanding over $100,000 to replace his roof, but admitted that his neighbors were getting their roofs replaced for half the price. The AOB contractor’s corporate representative tried to explain why his estimate was over twice the amount paid by the insured’s, but on cross-examination, he refused to disclose his costs for replacing the roof and how much had he built in for profit.
Florida Peninsula called its field adjuster, pre-suit engineer and corporate representative to detail Florida Peninsula’s extensive investigation into the loss and lengthy documentation of preexisting damages. At trial, the defense admitted into evidence over 160 photographs with extensive discussion by the engineer that the claimed damage resulted from thermal expansion and contraction, wear and tear and preexisting damage as evidenced by multiple repairs through the roof system.
At the end of trial, the jury rendered a defense verdict.