I. David Weiss, a partner in the firm’s Deerfield Beach, Florida office, successfully secured a motion for summary judgment as to the issue of attorney fees and costs in the matter of Gladys Castro v. First Community Insurance Company. The insured filed a Hurricane Irma claim, which the carrier investigated and agreed damages were covered under the policy. The carrier then paid the undisputed amount. Several months later the carrier tendered the recoverable depreciation to the insured. After a period of more than 120 days and without ever telling the insurance company that there was any dispute over the money that was received, the insured filed suit seeking additional compensation. After suit was filed, Mr. Weiss moved to compel appraisal and the matter was stayed until the appraisal was completed.
Mr. Weiss argued that First Community Insurance Company did not wrongfully cause its insured to resort to filing suit, and that the lawsuit filed by the insured was simply a preemptive attempt intended to obtain attorney fees. The court agreed and dismissed the complaint with prejudice, finding that First Community acted in good faith and did nothing but honor its contract when it paid, in good faith, the “actual cash value” of the loss; when the insured disagreed, First Community exercised its contractual right to appraisal.