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WLSC Protects Insurer from Baseless Liability Claim

Jan 12, 2010 - News by

GEICO Insurance Company, represented by Tom Caldwell and Stephanie Bandy of Walton Lantaff Schroeder and Carson, successfully appealed a summary judgment entered against it by a Miami-Dade Court.

Plaintiff Sanchez, a Miami lawyer, sued GEICO claiming that GEICO violated Florida law by failing to provide him with a required notice that his policy of automobile insurance was about to expire.

Sanchez did not pay his renewal premium when due, allegedly because he did not get any notice from GEICO, and consequently his policy lapsed.  When Sanchez tried to renew with GEICO he was quoted a considerably higher premium because he no longer qualified for a preferred rate.

Sanchez got replacement coverage from another insurer for a substantially higher premium than he had been paying which provided the basis for him to allege in his lawsuit that GEICO’s alleged failure to notify him that his policy was about to expire, and the amount of premium due, caused him to suffer monetary damages.

GEICO denied the allegations made by Sanchez and asserted that his claim failed to state a cause of action.  On the eve of trial Sanchez convinced the trial judge to enter a summary judgment in his favor which GEICO promptly appealed. The appellate court reversed the summary judgment finding that there was a issue of fact that should have precluded the trial court from entering a summary judgment for the Plaintiff.

In its opinion the appellate court also agreed with GEICO’s argument that under the law of Florida that even if the factual allegations of Sanchez’s lawsuit were correct that he still would not be entitled to monetary damages from GEICO thus paving the way for GEICO to ultimately prevail upon remand to the trial court.

— Tom Caldwell

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