In October 2009, a post on the Property Insurance Coverage Law Blog titled Florida’s Third District Rules When a Bad Faith Claim Can be Filed Following Appraisal evaluated the case of State Farm Florida Ins. Co. v. Seville Place Condo. Ass’n, Inc., No. 3D08-3528, 2009 WL 3271300 (Fla. 3d DCA October 14, 2009). After a rehearing, the en banc Court withdrew its original opinion and issued a new opinion on July 20, 2011, dismissing State Farm’s writ of certiorari.
The insured in the underlying case amended its complaint against State Farm to include a count of bad faith. State Farm filed a petition for writ of certiorari to the Third District Court of Appeal, asking the Court to decide whether a bad faith claim was ripe. The Court began its evaluation with the legal principle that:
It is well settled that a statutory first-party bad faith action is premature until two conditions have been satisfied: (1) the insurer raises no defense which would defeat coverage (an issue for the judicial process rather than the appraisal process), or any such defense has been adjudicated adversely to the insurer; and, (2) the actual extent of the insured’s loss must have been determined.
Upon rehearing the matter, however, the Court determined that it was not proper for it to exercise certiorari jurisdiction at the particular procedural point in the case below.
For an appellate court to review a nonfinal order by petition for certiorari, the petitioner must demonstrate that the trial court departed from the essential requirements of law, thereby causing irreparable injury which cannot be adequately remedied on appeal following final judgment.
When evaluating the procedural status of the underlying matter, the Court noted that no discovery pertaining to the bad faith claims or the punitive damages claim had yet been sought or compelled, and State Farm has not yet responded to the second amended complaint. It seemed that no irreparable injury had occurred and none was certain to follow. State Farm did not establish irreparable, material harm, a threshold requirement for the issuance of a writ of certiorari, so the Court denied the writ.
You can read the substituted en banc opinion here.