Our Miami homeowners insurance coverage attorneys are well aware of the advantages the Florida Legislature has bestowed on the insurance industry by bifurcating the issues of liability and claim value from bad faith litigation. This legislation created a strategic advantage by permitting insurers to have the jury shielded from learning extensive details about sharp practices in an insurer’s adjusting process when considering liability. Since the determination of damages can have a subjective component, insurance companies vigilantly leverage the bifurcation advantage by uniformly opposing attempts by policyholders to introduce evidence of its wrongful conduct and policy adjustment patterns.
In this blog, our Florida property damage attorneys review an appellate court decision demonstrating how insurers use the bifurcation process to shield juries from their bad faith practices. In State Farm Florida Insurance Company v. Marascuillo, the policyholders originally filed a sinkhole claim related to the covered property (“the 2004 claim”). The insurance company hired an engineering firm to investigate the claim and conduct testing. The engineering company concluded sinkhole activity occurred and suggested compaction grouting as a remedy. The insurer paid the estimated cost of this remedial approach to the sinkhole activity. However, the policyholders hired a different engineering firm to remediate the sinkhole issues by way of grouted piers as opposed to compaction grouting. Continue reading →