FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 29, 2021
Contact: Eric W. Boyer, Esq.
305.670.1101 Ext. 1023
QPWB GETS DEFENSE VERDICT – DEMONSTRATES PETITIONERS’
EXPERT FAILED TO MEET THE DAUBERT STANDARDS RULE
First-Party Property Insurance Coverage Claim
MIAMI ― Quintairos, Prieto, Wood & Boyer, P.A., trial attorneys Roberto M. Ureta and Jennifer C. Perez obtained a defense verdict on behalf of their client, the respondent, a Florida commercial property and casualty insurer. The petitioners filed a Declaratory Judgment Action to obtain coverage under their homeowner’s insurance policy for damages allegedly due to Hurricane Irma, including damages to their roof, interior, and fence.
Prior to the start of trial, the Court granted, in part, the defense’s Daubert motion ruling that the petitioners’ expert’s opinion that there was a hole or opening in the roof of the property and interior damage to the property as a result of Hurricane Irma was not corroborated or supported by his own deposition testimony, was completely insufficient, and did not meet the Daubert test. The Court further ruled that the petitioners’ expert testimony amounted to pure opinion testimony that was not supported by the facts of the case.
Based on this ruling, the court also granted the defense’s Motion for Final Summary Judgment, in part, finding that petitioners failed to present any evidence to establish there was a hole or opening in the roof of their property through which water entered and damaged the interior of their property as a result of Hurricane Irma. Petitioners’ expert had testified that he did not see or observe an opening or hole in the roof and did not physically observe any damage to the underlayment of the roof, that he did not go into the attic of the property; therefore, he could provide no testimony or evidence that rainwater was entering the property through a hole or opening in the roof. Petitioners’ expert further admitted that a moisture scan revealed there was no detection of moisture in any of the interior.
Accordingly, petitioners’ claim for damage to the interior of the property was decided in favor of the defense prior to trial and the only remaining issue was, whether the property’s roof and fence sustained direct physical damage as a result of Hurricane Irma. To prevail, petitioners only needed to prove, by the greater weight of the evidence, that their fence or a single tile on their roof was damaged by the hurricane.
After three days of trial, the jury rejected petitioners’ claims finding they had not proven their property was damaged by Hurricane Irma, and returned a defense verdict.
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Roberto M. Ureta is a partner in the Miami office. He focuses his practice on commercial litigation, insurance defense, general liability, and professional negligence. In civil litigation, he has represented numerous types of tort actions involving negligence and personal injury including automobile negligence, construction site defects and delays, wrongful death litigation, premises liability claims, and negligent security actions. His practice also includes business litigation and commercial and residential real estate transactions. Mr. Ureta received his law degree in 1993 from Nova Southeastern University. He’s fluent in Spanish.
Jennifer C. Perez is a partner in the Miami office focusing on first party and third party insurance coverage disputes, Ms. Perez also handles employment discrimination claims, wrongful death matters, and slip and fall cases. She has defended appellate cases before the Third District Court of Appeals of Florida. Ms. Perez received her law degree in 2010 from Penn State Law. She’s fluent in Spanish
QPWB is the largest minority and women owned law firm in the nation with over 380 lawyers serving clients from 27 offices in the U.S. and abroad. Our lawyers provide representation in litigation, business, real estate and governmental law.