Jessica Teitelbaum obtains summary judgment in flood coverage action and dismissal of appeal

November 17, 2021
February 12, 2015

Jessica Teitelbaum, Of Counsel in the firm's Fort Myers, FL office, achieved final summary judgment in a flood insurance coverage action brought in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, and obtained dismissal of the plaintiff’s appeal of the judgment to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, further solidifying policyholder obligations and conditions for appraisal under a Standard Flood Insurance Policy ("SFIP").In response to its insured’s requests for additional payments relative to a new flood loss claim, Chartwell’s client, a national property insurer, requested documentation from its insured which would show that prior flood damage to the commercial properties at issue had been repaired.  Chartwell’s client previously paid for repairs to the properties stemming from earlier flood damage claims. The insured failed to provide such documentation, filed suit, and brought claims against Chartwell’s client for breach of the insurance contract, for appraisal under the SFIP, and for violation of Florida insurance statutes.  The District Court entered final summary judgment in Chartwell’s client’s favor on all counts, and dismissed the plaintiff’s suit with prejudice, agreeing that providing evidence of prior repairs upon demand is a condition precedent to bringing suit under the SFIP, that the policyholder’s state law claims were preempted by federal law, and that the SFIP’s appraisal clause could not be invoked due to the parties’ disagreement as to the scope of loss.  The Eleventh Circuit dismissed the plaintiff’s appeal, agreeing with Ms. Teitelbaum’s legal arguments supporting dismissal.