In July 2013, Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeal held in Ergas v. Universal Property & Casualty that there is no coverage for tile damage caused by a dropped object. Since then, Florida’s Second and Third Districts have issued similar opinions in Miguel and Isabel Rodriguez v. Citizens Property Insurance Corporation and Alina Nunez v. Citizens Property Insurance Corporation, respectively.
As discussed in my prior post on Ergas, there was no Florida appellate authority on the issue until July of 2013. For several years, insureds brought hundreds to thousands of claims and lawsuits and neither they nor the insurers had appellate authority to guide them in evaluating coverage. In these claims, insureds alleged that they dropped a hard object onto a tile floor and chipped it. Insureds generally requested that insurers replace a large amount of tile flooring because there were no replacement tiles.
In these cases, the Second and Third Districts per curiam affirmed the Fourth District’s use of the “marring” exclusion. A per curiam affirmance, which is a decision without a written opinion, is generally used when the decision is readily apparent from the record and a written opinion will not serve a useful purpose. Accordingly, one can conclude that the Second and Third Districts had nothing to add to the Fourth District’s opinion in Ergas.
Following these decisions on the “marring” exclusion, nearly half of Florida’s geographical area and the majority of its population now have no coverage for tile damage caused by a dropped object. Interestingly, these jurisdictions were home to most of the state’s dropped object cases.
The Ergas decision is currently pending review by the Florida Supreme Court.
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