The Colorado Supreme Court issued two opinions favorable to Colorado policyholders earlier this week:

  1. American Family Mutual Insurance Company v. Barriga; and
  2. Rooftop Restoration, Inc. v. American Family Mutual Insurance Company.

Both cases address the unreasonable delay or denial of insurance benefits statute in Colorado. This post addresses the Barriga opinion, and the Rooftop Restoration, Inc. will be discussed in the coming days.
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In a recent post, Policyholders May Benefit From All Their Coverages, I discussed the importance of carefully evaluating all the insurance benefits potentially available to policyholders if a catastrophic loss occurs. That blog examined the decision in Citizens Property Insurance Corp. v. Hamilton,1 which allowed recovery of benefits for a total loss due to flood and due to wind damage under both a flood and a separate specified-peril wind insurance policy.
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On Friday, April 13, 2018, by avoiding black cats, ladders, and breaking mirrors, seven members of the Texas Supreme Court1 managed to issue a new, sixty-six page opinion in USAA Texas Lloyds Company v. Menchaca (“Menchaca II”).2 Withdrawing its April 7, 2017, opinion3 —”Menchaca I”—the court unanimously reaffirmed the five legal principles and rules announced in that opinion which addressed the relationship between contract claims under an insurance policy and tort claims under the Texas Insurance Code.4 The court issued the same disposition in Menchaca II —reversal and remand for a new trial—as it had in Menchaca I. So, one asks: “What is the difference in the two opinions? Which party suffered an unlucky day?” This article will attempt to answer those questions.
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It has been over 30 years since Florida lawmakers enacted section 624.155, which was designed to provide a civil remedy when an insurer fails to settle their policyholder’s claim in good faith or commits any one of the unfair claims handling practices identified in section 626.9541(1)(i). Yet, to this day, questions still arise on one basic question: When is an insured legally entitled to bring a civil action against their property insurance carrier for failing to meet its statutory obligations?
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On April 7, 2017, the Texas Supreme Court in USAA Tex. Lloyds Co. v. Menchaca,1 answered several issues that had continually swirled around litigation arising out of Hurricane Ike policy disputes. Unresolved issues included among others:

  1. Whether an insured is required to obtain a breach of contract finding as a prerequisite to a recovery for an insured’s extra-contractual claims such as an insurer’s violations under the Texas Insurance Code; and
  2. if an insured can show entitlement or a right to policy benefits, whether those policy benefits can serve as actual damages for extra-contractual claims even if the insured cannot establish a breach of contract claim.


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Many property insurance policies have a provision that states something similar to the following: “we do not insure…for loss…caused by…constant or repeated seepage or leakage of water…over a period of 14 or more days.” Insureds may find their claims for water loss under their homeowners’ policy denied on the grounds that the leak was present for a period of two weeks or more. However, Florida courts have ruled that the first thirteen days of damage may be covered, due to ambiguity in the language of the policy.
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Back on November 7 of last year (2017), I wrote about an important opinion in the world of property insurance litigation, Joyce v. Federated National Insurance Company,1 where the Florida Supreme Court reaffirmed that you could still obtain a contingency-fee multiplier where justified under Quanstrom and in so doing reversed the Fifth District Court of Appeal finding that such a multiplier should be limited to “rare” and “exceptional” circumstances. Tom Elligett and Amy Farrior represented the Joyces in this landmark case.
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