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Court of Appeal of Florida, First District
February 27, 2009, Opinion Filed
CASE NO.: 1D07-5262
[*554] VAN NORTWICK, J.
Citizens Property Insurance Corporation appeals a final summary judgment entered in favor of James Mallett and Martha Mallett, appellees, which orders Citizens to pay the full policy limits of the homeowner's insurance policy issued to the Malletts. The Malletts cross-appeal, arguing that the trial court erred in awarding prejudgment interest from the date of partial summary judgment, rather than the date the covered property was damaged by a hurricane. For the reasons that follow, we reverse the issues raised on appeal and affirm the issues raised on cross-appeal.
Hurricane Ivan struck Pensacola on September 16, 2004, causing substantial damage to the area. The residence owned by the Malletts suffered extensive damage from wind and [**2] water. The policy issued by Citizens did not cover water damage, although the Malletts did possess separate flood insurance and recovered $ 244,745.95 for water damage under that policy. The policy issued by Citizens listed the value of the Malletts' residence at $ 561,000. Citizens determined that the Malletts' residence sustained wind damage totaling $ 182,279.95 and paid the Malletts that amount.
The Malletts filed suit seeking payment of the full amount of the insured value of the property, arguing that they sustained a "constructive total loss" since the local government, the Santa Rosa Island Authority, had found the damage to the property to exceed fifty percent of its value. Citizens denied any additional liability and raised several affirmative defenses. The Malletts moved for summary judgment on the claim for the total policy limit as well as their claim for damages for coverage under the debris removal clause and the so-called "law and ordinance" clause of the policy. 1 After a hearing, the trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the Malletts on two of their three claims. The trial court explained:
Taking all of the above, this Court finds that [the Malletts'] home [**3] was substantially damaged by the peril of wind. . . . The Valued Policy Law and the Mierzwa decision hold that when a property is rendered total loss and the insurer is liable under the insurance policy to pay any amount, it is liable for the full policy limit. In this case, [the Malletts] have further shown that substantial damage was reached by damage attributable to wind alone. [Citizens has] not submitted any evidence to the contrary.
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7 So. 3d 552 *; 2009 Fla. App. LEXIS 1544 **; 34 Fla. L. Weekly D 466
CITIZENS PROPERTY INSURANCE CORPORATION, Appellant/Cross Appellee, v. JAMES MALLETT and MARTHA MALLETT, Appellees/Cross Appellants.
Subsequent History: Released for Publication May 20, 2009.
Prior History: [**1] An appeal from the Circuit Court for Escambia County. Nickolas P. Geeker, Judge.
total loss, summary judgment, trial court, insurer, coverage, wind, covered peril, removal, debris, damaged, policy limit
Insurance Law, Property Insurance, Coverage, Property Damage, Civil Procedure, Summary Judgment, Entitlement as Matter of Law, General Overview, Appellate Review, Standards of Review, Claim, Contract & Practice Issues, Claims Made Policies, Coverage