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QBE Ins. Corp. v. Chalfonte Condo. Apt. Ass'n

Supreme Court of Florida

May 31, 2012, Decided

No. SC09-441

Opinion

 [*543]  QUINCE, J.

This case is before the Court for review of five questions of Florida law certified by the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals as being determinative of a cause pending in that court and for which there appears to be no controlling precedent. We have jurisdiction. See art. V, § 3(b)(6), Fla. Const. Based on the facts and analysis outlined below, we answer the first, third,  [**2] fourth, and fifth questions certified by the Eleventh Circuit in the negative. In doing so, we need not reach the second certified question.

FACTS

This action arises from an appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit wherein the plaintiff-appellee and cross-appellant Chalfonte Condominium Apartments Association, Inc. (Chalfonte) appealed the dismissal of claims under section 627.701(4)(a), Florida Statutes (2009), and the denial of a motion to enforce execution of the judgment, and the defendant-appellant and cross-appellee QBE Insurance Corporation (QBE) appealed the denial of motions for a new trial and for judgment as a matter of law.

The facts in this case are succinctly set forth in Chalfonte Condominium Apartment Ass'n v. QBE Insurance Corp., 561 F.3d 1267, 1269-70 (11th Cir. 2009):

On October 24, 2005, Hurricane Wilma struck Boca Raton, Florida, causing significant damage to property owned by Chalfonte. Shortly thereafter, Chalfonte filed a claim with QBE, its property insurer, pursuant to an insurance policy (the "Policy") providing property  [*544]  coverage to Chalfonte for the twelve month period commencing January 1, 2005. Chalfonte submitted an estimate of  [**3] damages to QBE on December 18, 2005, and then submitted a sworn proof of loss to QBE on July 12, 2006. Dissatisfied with QBE's investigation and processing of its claim, Chalfonte filed suit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

In the district court, Chalfonte raised claims for declaratory judgment (Count I), breach of contract—failure to provide coverage (Count II), breach of contract—breach of the implied warranty of good faith and fair dealing (Count III), and violation of Fla. Stat. § 627.701(4)(a) (Count IV). The district court dismissed Count IV of the complaint, concluding that § 627.701 does not provide a private right of action, and then held a jury trial on Chalfonte's remaining claims. The jury found for Chalfonte on all of its claims, awarding Chalfonte $7,868,211 for QBE's failure to provide coverage ($2,000,000 of which was awarded for "ordinance or law" coverage) and $271,888.68 for breach of the implied warranty of good faith and fair dealing, for a total award of $8,140,099.68. The jury also concluded that the Policy did not comply with § 627.701(4)(a).

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94 So. 3d 541 *; 2012 Fla. LEXIS 1063 **; 37 Fla. L. Weekly S 395; 2012 WL 1947863

QBE INSURANCE CORPORATION, Appellant, vs. CHALFONTE CONDOMINIUM APARTMENT ASSOCIATION, INC., Appellee.

Prior History:  [**1] Certified Question of Law from the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit - Case Nos. 08-10009, 08-10783, 08-11337.

Chalfonte Condo. Apt. Ass'n v. QBE Ins. Corp., 561 F.3d 1267, 2009 U.S. App. LEXIS 4941 (11th Cir. Fla., 2009)Buckley Towers Condo., Inc. v. QBE Ins. Corp., 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 24159 (S.D. Fla., Feb. 22, 2012)

CORE TERMS

hurricane, first-party, bad-faith, coverage, notice, warranty, void, noncompliance, covenant, coinsurance, contractual, third-party, type-size, Staff, supersedeas, unenforceable, waived, sworn

Insurance Law, Liability & Performance Standards, Bad Faith & Extracontractual Liability, Elements of Bad Faith, Good Faith & Fair Dealing, General Overview, Policy Interpretation, Reasonable Expectations, Claim, Contract & Practice Issues, Deductibles, Property Insurance, Coverage, Hurricanes & Tornadoes, Civil Procedure, Appeals, Standards of Review, De Novo Review, Governments, Legislation, Interpretation, Exclusions, Stays of Judgments, Appellate Stays, Supersedeas Bonds