The Whisler Law Firm secured a Jury Verdict in Lee County, Florida on May 21, 2021. The county tends to be a pro-insurance venue and Plaintiff’s verdicts are difficult to come by. The jury returned a verdict in favor of a roofing contractor who was acting on behalf of their client, elderly homeowners.
The verdict concluded a more than 2-year long journey through highly contested litigation. The Defendant is a large insurance provider known for denying and underpaying homeowner’s insurance claims and aggressive litigation tactics.
The provider tried to avoid paying for damages to the roof, which they agreed was damaged as a result of Hurricane Irma and covered by the policy. The provider tried to blame the 80-year old homeowner and his wife for waiting only one year to report the claim. Meanwhile, the policy specifically allows for an insured to report a hurricane claim within three (3) years from the date the hurricane made landfall in Florida. Moreover, the insured didn’t initially report the claim because they tried to responsibly take care of the problems themselves.
Ironically, the insurance company then tried to argue that the insured’s shouldn’t recover anything because the insurance company untimely exercised their right to repair under the policy. The policy has a “our option” clause, this clause allows an insurance provider to inspect a loss and then choose to fix the damages. In this case, the insurance company had thirty (30) days to exercise this option, but waited sixty-three (63) days to do so. Moreover, the insured testified that the contractor for the insurance company took so long to exercise this option, the elderly homeowner had to pay again out of pocket to have a roofer stop the leak. The 80-year old homeowner further testified that he had to replace his own hardwood floors, crown molding, baseboards and drywall himself due to the water intrusion so that he and his wife could have their children, grandchildren and great-grandchild home for the holidays.
Thanks to an excellent jury and Whisler trial team of Attorneys John Tolley, Joshua Brownlee and Paralegal Carolyn Parish, the jury was able to look past the insurance company’s arguments and find for the homeowners!