Bill Berk called me yesterday regarding the upcoming Windstorm Conference next week. During our discussion, he mentioned that his partner, Evelyn Mercahant, won a trial for QBE against a condominium association represented by a very good trial attorney, Daniel Rosenbaum. The Association was seeking millions, but the jury awarded zero.

This is not the first time that Berk’s firm has obtained a zero verdict for QBE. Yesterday, I noted a number of case decisions involving QBE in my post, QBE Lawsuits are Unilaterally Redefining Property Insurance Law Coverage Cases in Florida. Berk also noted that QBE may have not obtained zero verdicts in other lawsuits but still offered more than what was obtained through trial. Sometimes, newspapers only report that a party won a civil lawsuit without reporting that the winner may have lost because it turned down a better pre-trial settlement.

Being Fair And Balanced, I am reporting this result because it represents a significant win for QBE against a trial attorney for whom I have a great deal of respect. As I learn more about this case, I will report on it.

My suggested thought for those not certain if a settlement offer is fair:


  • shirley heflin

    Chip, I bet Bill Berk pulled out an expensive cigar (even if he doesn’t smoke), held it, kicked back in his big leather chair and said “….[somebody out there like Shirley, get me Chip Merlin on the phone]….” to make that phone call to you!!!! You can’t tell me he wasn’t SMILING.


    P.S. He does run one of the defense firms that makes me cringe when I see one of their envelopes and, for him, that’s a good thing. Guess he’s holding up his side for the defense world.

  • Audrey Kollar

    Does the association that lost have to pay the attorney fees?

    I see this law firm always bragging online when they receive a verdict in their favor but do not see anything from QBE about winning. I guess your comment is appropriate about PIGS it would seem that would be alot of money to pay to the winner for attorneys. The way it was explained to us was the winning party had to pay the attorney fees. how much would that be if you lose ?

    Who’s fault is it that the association got ‘zero’. We were told that we would pay nothing if we used these lawyers, and that insurance companies always settle.

    To get nothing is incredible ! They were so positive we would win. I feel so sorry for that association.

    Guess you can’t blame the insurance company.

  • Chip Merlin


    There is absolutley no sure outcome to a trial or litigation. The Ethcial Rules of the Bar specifically prohibit any guarantee.

    Attorneys can give opinions and should tell you honestly how they view the case. Telling an Association that insurers always settle is a misrepresentation.

    Associations can become responsible for costs and possibly attorneys fees depending on Proposals for Settlement or Offers of Judgment being made by the insurance company. These are often made to make Associations with otherwise valid claims to give up, and as leverage by the insurance company. Still, there are serious consequences for losing when they have been made and should be analyzed.

    The lead trial attorney for the Association in the case I wrote about is a person I have a great deal of respect for. I am certain that he will try to get the case overturned with post trial motions and will appeal if needed. The case has not been lost for certain.