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Supreme Court of Florida
October 8, 1998, Decided
[*1072] PARIENTE, J.
We have for review CTC Development Corp. v. State Farm Fire & Casualty Co., 704 So. 2d 579 (Fla. 1st DCA 1997), based on express and direct conflict with this Court's opinion in Hardware Mutual Casualty Co. v. Gerrits, 65 So. 2d 69 (Fla. 1953). We have jurisdiction. See art. V, § 3(b)(3), Fla. Const. For the reasons stated below, we recede from our earlier decision in Gerrits and hold that when the term [**2] "accident" is undefined in a liability policy, the term includes not only "accidental events," but also damages or injuries that are neither expected nor intended from the viewpoint of the insured.
Gregory Uzdevenes is a professional architect and sole owner of the construction company CTC Development Corporation, Inc. (CTC). Both Uzdevenes and CTC were the insureds under a "Contractor's Policy" issued by State Farm Fire and Casualty Company [*1073] (State Farm), paying a premium of $ 5,926.92 per year. The contractor's policy described the insureds' business as including "the construction of residential property." The policy provided various types of coverage, including liability coverage of up to $ 500,000 for damages caused by "occurrences."
The damages in this case resulted from Uzdevenes' construction of a residence for John and Annette Bray (the Brays) on their property, in violation of restrictive covenants requiring that the house be at least fifteen feet from each side lot line. Uzdevenes admitted that he constructed the house knowing it was beyond the easterly setback, but asserted that he was under the mistaken impression that the homeowners' association had approved [**3] his request for a variance from the setback requirements.
According to Uzdevenes, a day or two after he submitted the plans to the homeowners' association for approval, he called the association president to "formally" request a variance to place the house beyond the easterly setback. Uzdevenes claimed that the association president did not ask for a written request. A week to ten days later, Uzdevenes received a letter from the association president approving the "plans submitted." Unsure whether this approval included the variance request, Uzdevenes again called the president who told him that the variance would be "no problem."
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
720 So. 2d 1072 *; 1998 Fla. LEXIS 1901 **; 23 Fla. L. Weekly S 527
STATE FARM FIRE AND CASUALTY COMPANY, Petitioner, vs. CTC DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, Respondent.
Prior History: [**1] Application for Review of the Decision of the District Court of Appeal - Direct Conflict of Decisions First District - Case No. 96-2976 (Escambia County).
Disposition: Approved the result reached by the First District and receded from Gerrits.
insured, coverage, liability policy, damages, occurrence, property damage, accidental, variance, setback, bodily injury, natural and probable consequence, standpoint of the insured, exclusion clause, interpretations, supplied
Insurance Law, Claim, Contract & Practice Issues, Policy Interpretation, General Overview, Exclusions, Entire Contract, Commercial General Liability Insurance, Coverage, Bodily Injuries, Accidental Injuries, Business Insurance, Property Claims, Occurrences, Ambiguous Terms, Construction Against Insurers, Civil Procedure, Trials, Jury Trials, Province of Court & Jury, Liability & Performance Standards, Good Faith & Fair Dealing, Duty to Defend, Remedies, Declaratory Judgments, Triggers