FLORIDA FEDERAL CASES

  • Commercial General Liability Policies; “Injury-in-fact” vs. “Manifestation” as Trigger for Coverage; “Your Work” Exception – A CGL policy’s “Your Work” exclusion precludes coverage for defective installation when no damage occurs beyond the defective work of a single subcontractor. General contractor entered into consent judgment with, and assigned its claims against its insurer to, homeowner who sued for construction defects. On appeal from summary judgment in homeowner’s favor, the Eleventh Circuit affirmed many of the trial court’s conclusions. First, the date property damage occurred (“injury-in-fact”), rather than when it was discovered (“manifestation”), triggered coverage under the CGL policy. Second, the insured had a duty to defend because it knew that Florida courts have yet to decide whether the injury-in-fact or manifestation date triggers coverage; therefore, coverage was possible. Third, the insured’s motion to amend its answer to assert a coverage defense it had known for more than a year was unreasonably delayed and thus denied. And fourth, the homeowners were entitled to recover the cost to rebuild the defective balcony that damaged their garage as a cost to repair damage caused by defective work. However, the eleventh circuit reversed the award for brick damage caused by improper application of brick coating. The homeowners failed to prove that different subcontractors installed the bricks and applied the exterior coating. Absent proof of different subcontractors, the CGL policy’s “your work” exclusion would preclude recovery. For the same reason, the court also reversed an award for property damage to tile caused by inadequate adhesive and mud base that included replacement cost of both the tile and the mud base. It was irrelevant that the homeowners purchased the tile. No coverage exists for defective installation where no damage occurs beyond that subcontractor’s defective work. The Eleventh Circuit reversed and remanded on these issues. Carithers v. Mid-Continent Casualty Company, No. 14-11639, 2015 WL 1529038 (11th Cir. April 7, 2015).

FLORIDA STATE CASES

  • Sinkholes; Certiorari Jurisdiction – In a sinkhole insurance dispute between a homeowner and the Florida Insurance Guaranty Association, the trial court erred when it granted partial summary judgment for insured as to liability and damages on subsurface repairs but noted in its order that cosmetic repairs were still in dispute. No final order was given, but the trial court permitted the homeowner to execute the judgment. Because FIGA cannot seek review until a trial court renders a final order and the trial court permitted execution on the judgment while the cosmetic damages were in dispute, FIGA’s petition for writ of certiorari was proper. Accordingly, the Second District Court of Appeal granted FIGA’s certiorari petition and quashed the trial court’s grant of partial summary judgment. Florida Insurance Guaranty Association v. Murphy, 40 Fla. L. Weekly D857a (Fla. 2d DCA April 10, 2015).