Appeals Court Certifies Insurer Objections to Appraisal-Coverage Dual Track Approach

Steven G. Schwartz, Esq.
October 27, 2010

In a Miami appeal, argued by the firm in a case closely analogous to its victory in Sunshine State Insurance Company v. Corridori, the Third District Appeals Court reached the opposite conclusion from the Fourth District on the right of an insured to demand an appraisal before showing compliance with the insurer's claim investigation requests. In the case of Sunshine State Insurance Company v. Rawlins, 34 So.3d 753 (Fla. 3d DCA 2010), despite rather similar facts as was at issue in the Corridori Fourth District case, the Third District affirmed the trial judge's ordering of a dual track handling of the litigation such that an appraisal was ordered to proceed in tandem with litigation regarding disputed policy coverages, despite the absence of a clear record that the insured had met post-loss insurer demands for supportive repair records, an Examination Under Oath and timely submission of a Proof of Loss. The Third District rejected the reasoning of the Fourth District's Corridori decision, thus setting the stage for a certified question to the Supreme Court due to conflicts between two District Courts. This is precisely what arose in a case decided shortly thereafter, again by the Fourth District, Citizens Property Insurance Corporation v. Michigan Condo Association, 46 So.3d 177 (Fla. 4th DCA 2010). In Michigan Condo, the Fourth District once again took up the question of an insured's duty to cooperate with the insurer's claim investigation as a condition precedent to any right to petition for an appraisal. Reaffirming its holdings in Sunshine State v. Corridori yet mindful of the Third District's divergence in Rawlins, the Fourth District certified this conflict to the Supreme Court. (Complete copy of the rulings in both Rawlins and Michigan Condo.)

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