Shelton v. Liberty Mut. Fire Ins. Co., 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 165694 (M.D. Fla. 11/21/13)

Sinkhole loss covered under plain meaning of “structural damage.”

Structural damage resulting from sinkhole loss was covered under the plain meaning of “structural damage,” despite a potentially exclusionary definition under Fla. Stat. § 627.706(2)(k). The court adopted its earlier finding that the plain meaning of “structural damage” is “damage to the structure.” The court noted their previous ruling that the § 627.706 definition of “structural damage” was inapplicable to this case. Thus, the court focused on whether the insureds had sustained structural damage resulting from sinkhole activity and found that they had. The insurer failed to present evidence or testimony to support their contention that the loss was not covered under the policy. Therefore, this court granted the plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment and awarded damages.


Case Law Alert, 1st Quarter 2014