October 7, 2009
305-670-1101 Ext. 1023
MIAMI – A Miami-Dade County jury granted a defense verdict to Quintairos, Prieto, Wood & Boyer, P.A. (QPWB) Miami office trial attorney Asika K. Patel on a homeowner’s policy first-party coverage action, where the insurer denied coverage based on exclusions including but not limited to long-term exposure to water. The insured argued that the damages sought were compensable and covered under the policy.
This claim stemmed from an alleged break in a hot water dual valve underneath the insured’s kitchen sink. The insured claimed this loss was sudden and accidental, and damage to his kitchen cabinetry and ceramic tile floor in the kitchen and dining room occurred overnight. The insurer denied coverage on the basis that the damage resulted from constant or repeated seepage of water over a period of weeks, months and years. Additionally, it was evident the damage was preexisting and caused by (1) wear and tear and deterioration, (2) decay or other corrosion, (3) neglect, and (4) faulty, inadequate, or defective workmanship and maintenance. The insured’s own plumber testified this loss could not have occurred overnight and was a result of long-term exposure to water.
Counsel for plaintiff argued this loss was covered despite the decrepit state of the insured’s kitchen because the insurer had knowledge of same prior to issuing the policy and accepted premiums. He also argued that the ensuing damage caused by constant or repeated seepage of water, wear and tear, is covered unless otherwise excluded. QPWB successfully argued that such damage was otherwise excluded and preexisting, and that the insured had a duty to maintain his property – the jury agreed. Within 45 minutes, the jury found in favor of the insurer with a defense verdict.
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