Adam Handfinger, a partner in the firm’s Miami office, was quoted in a story by Law360 on August 2, 2016 about a breaking news appellate matter affecting the construction industry entitled ‘11th Circuit Seeks Florida Justices’ Input On Defect Notice Law’.
The 11th Circuit asked Florida’s highest court to weigh in on an issue of first impression regarding whether a construction defect claim notice constitutes a suit triggering an insurer’s defense obligations under a commercial general liability insurance policy.
In a published opinion, a three-judge appellate panel said that the language in building contractor Altman Contractors Inc.’s CGL policies with Crum & Forster Specialty Insurance Co. doesn’t clearly indicate whether a notice of a construction defect issued under Chapter 558 of the Florida Statutes is a suit triggering the insurer’s duty to defend. As a result, the panel, sought the Florida Supreme Court’s input on the issue.
Mr. Handfinger said he looks forward to seeing how the Florida high court will address the issue. “At the end of the day, the policy says what it says, and if the insurers had wanted to limit defense, they could have done so,” Handfinger said. “Any ambiguities have to be construed in favor of the insured. If there is any question about what a ‘suit’ means under the policy, all inferences have to be drawn in the insured’s favor.”