A prominent insurance company defense attorney left me a message on Friday saying, “you never know what a jury is going to do.” The jury ruled in favor of American Home Assurance Company in the claims practice lawsuit brought by Robert Sebo.
The Jury Verdict form had this simple question and answer:
I discussed this case in FedNat Claims Handling Complaints and Bad Faith—Learning From Proposed Sebo Bad Faith Jury Instructions, and Sebo Claims Practice Case Moving Towards Trial. Regardless of what happens in post-trial motions and appeals of this bad faith case, Sebo is the landmark case in Florida regarding concurrent causation which was discussed in The Florida Supreme Court Clarifies What Rule to Apply When There Are Multiple Causes of Loss Under an All-Risk Policy. All Florida first-party adjusters and claims managers should read and understand the Sebo coverage case.
The trial had an all-star cast of attorneys for Sebo and American Home. The case was well prepared by both sides. One lesson from the case is that the judgment of a jury is never certain. Our Merlin Law Group trial team spends a lot of time trying to learn better communicative techniques for trial presentation. But, one thing we caution our clients about, even in the aftermath of mock jury results, is that the insurance company has a right to present its side of the story. You never know for certain how a select group of people with different values and beliefs will view the parties and the facts of the case.
As we get the final pre-trial and in-trial pleadings, motions, and rulings, I am certain we will have more to say about the case.
Thought For The Day
Juries are not computers. They are composed of human beings who evaluate evidence differently.