When Parties Agree to Appraisal Court has no Choice but to Agree


Post 4786

See the full video at  https://rumble.com/v409y5z-when-parties-agree-to-appraisal-court-has-no-choice-but-to-agree.html and at https://youtu.be/oOGc-09xpWs

In an insurance dispute stemming from Hurricane Ian The parties agreed that their case should go to appraisal to determine the extent of the loss.

When an insurance policy contains an appraisal provision, “the right to appraisal is not permissive but is instead mandatory, so once a demand for appraisal is made, ‘neither party has the right to deny that demand.’” [McGowan v. First Acceptance Ins. Co., Inc., 411 F.Supp.3d 1293, 1296 (M.D. Fla. 2019) (quoting United Cmty. Ins. Co. v. Lewis, 642 So.2d 59, 60 (Fla. 3d DCA 1994)].

Like other stipulations about dispute resolution, the Court must enforce contractual appraisal provisions by non-dispositive order. Therefore, in Buena Vista Of Deep Creek Condominium Association, Inc. v. Clear Blue Specialty Insurance Company, No. 2:23-cv-957-SPC-KCD, United States District Court, M.D. Florida (November 27, 2023) the court concluded that because appraisal will not dispose of any claims or defenses, the Court did not treat the motion to compel appraisal as one for summary judgment.

Since the parties agreed that appraisal is appropriate, their request was granted. Further, the parties requested a stay during appraisal which was also granted because the Hurricane Ian Scheduling Order contemplated such relief if the parties agreed that appraisal is appropriate. Thus, the case wase stayed.

All deadlines and events in the Hurricane Ian Scheduling Order are suspended. The parties have agreed that the appraisal panel must itemize the awarded damages by coverage, to be accompanied by a supporting estimate. Though the parties cite no contractual provision that requires such an award, because the parties agree, their request will be granted.

According, it was ORDERED:

  1. The Joint Stipulation for Appraisal and Stay of the Case was GRANTED, and the appraisal panel was ordered to itemize the awarded damages by coverage, to be accompanied by a supporting estimate.
  2. This case was STAYED pending appraisal, and the Clerk must add a stay flag to the file and administratively close the case.
  3. The parties were DIRECTED to file a joint report on the status of appraisal on or before February 26, 2024, and every ninety days thereafter until appraisal has ended.
  4. Within 15 days of a signed appraisal award, the parties were directed to jointly notify the Court of: (a) what issues, if any, remain for the Court to resolve; (b) whether the stay needs to be lifted; and (c) how this action should proceed, if at all.

The Appraisal condition of a first party property policy is an extra-judicial means of resolving disputes between an insurer and an insured about the amount of loss. Since the parties agreed that appraisal was an appropriate manner of resolving that limited dispute they moved to stay the action in hopes that the appraisal result will allow the parties to resolve all their differences. The court understood and issued orders to fulfill the agreement of the parties.

(c) 2023 Barry Zalma & ClaimSchool, Inc.

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About Barry Zalma

An insurance coverage and claims handling author, consultant and expert witness with more than 48 years of practical and court room experience.

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