Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit

by
Southern-Owners filed suit seeking a declaratory judgment absolving it of the duty to indemnify or defend Easdon Rhodes, or the other defendants, in an underlying negligence suit. The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment, holding that the vehicle driven by Joshua Rhodes, one of Easdon Rhodes' members, did not qualify for coverage under the terms of the Endorsement, and, even if the vehicle had qualified, the existence of a separate insurance policy also covering the accident triggered the Endorsement's exclusion clause absolving Southern-Owners of its duties under the policy. View "Southern-Owners Insurance Co. v. Moore" on Justia Law

by
This appeal arose out of the Ponzi scheme orchestrated by Scott Rothstein through his law firm, Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler (RRA). Trustees of RRA filed suit alleging breach of contract and bad faith claims against insurance carriers that reached a settlement with Gibraltar and its executives after originally denying coverage. The Eleventh Circuit applied Florida law and exercised plenary review, holding that coverage was barred by a "professional services exclusion" found in each of the policies. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's grant of the insurers' motion to dismiss. View "Stettin v. National Union Fire Insurance Co." on Justia Law

by
Answering certified questions from the Eleventh Circuit, the Supreme Court of Georgia concluded that, while O.C.G.A. 9-11-67.1 sets forth certain terms and conditions that must be included in every written offer of settlement, nothing in Georgia law or the statute precludes parties from requiring "some additional act to effectuate acceptance;" O.C.G.A. 9-11-67.1 permits unilateral contracts whereby Pre-Suit Offers may demand acceptance in the form of performance before there was a binding enforceable settlement contract; and O.C.G.A. 9-11-67.1 does not preclude a Pre-Suit Offer from demanding timely payment as a condition of acceptance. In light of these answers, the Eleventh Circuit held that the district court correctly determined that O.C.G.A. 9-11-67.1 does not prohibit a party from requiring timely payment as a condition of acceptance of a settlement offer; the offer letter in this case unambiguously conditioned acceptance on timely payment; the insurers' issuance of two $50,000 checks with incomplete addresses, which never reached defendants or their attorney, did not satisfy this timely-payment condition; and the insurer failed to accept defendants' settlement offer, thus preventing the formation of a binding settlement agreement. Accordingly, the court affirmed summary judgment for defendants. View "Grange Mutual Casualty Co. v. Woodard" on Justia Law

by
The Eleventh Circuit reversed the grant of partial summary judgment on the binding effect of the verdict in the Circuit Court's breach-of-contract case and held that the parties must again litigate statutory damages. In this case, GEICO did not receive appellate review of the statutory-damages determination in the parties' underlying breach-of-contract case. Therefore, that damages determination did not bind the parties in this bad faith case. View "Bottini v. GEICO" on Justia Law