Florida Supreme Court: No Legal Fees in Insurance Cases

January 23, 2012

The Florida Supreme Court says insurers don’t have to pay customers’ legal costs when they’re sued and lose.

Plaintiffs’ lawyers say the Thursday decision will have a chilling effect because attorneys won’t want to take cases against insurance companies.

The court decided unanimously in the case of a woman whose house was damaged by Hurricane Charley in 2004. Her insurance company only paid part of her claim and she had to sue for the rest.

She later claimed her attorneys’ fees under her policy but the company went bankrupt. The court says legal fees weren’t within her coverage.

The case is Petty v. Florida Insurance Guaranty Association, No. SC10-2097. The association is a backup fund that handles policies for insolvent insurers.

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