Florida Supreme Court Holds that UM Insured is Entitled to Liability Determination and Full Extent of Damages Before Filing a Bad Faith Action

Cozen O'Connor

Petitioner Adrian Fridman (“Fridman”) was injured in an automobile accident involving an underinsured motorist. Fridman filed a claim with his uninsured/underinsured (UM) insurance carrier (Insurer) for the $50,000 limits of his UM policy.  After the Insurer refused to pay the policy limits, Fridman filed a complaint against the Insurer to determine liability under the UM policy and the full extent of his damages.  One month before trial, the Insurer tendered a check to Fridman for $50,000 and filed a confession of judgment for that amount seeking entry of the confessed judgment and a dismissal.  Fridman opposed the entry of a confessed judgment, arguing that a jury verdict would determine the upper limits of Insurer’s potential liability under a future bad faith claim.  The trial court denied Insurer’s motion to confess judgment and the case proceeded to trial.

The jury determined that the underinsured motorist was 100 percent at-fault and that Fridman’s damages were $1 million.  The Insurer appealed the judgment.  The court of appeal vacated the jury’s verdict, concluding that after the Insurer confessed judgment in the amount of $50,000, Fridman’s UM action became moot.

Fridman then appealed to the Florida Supreme Court.  The Supreme Court quashed the court of appeal’s decision, holding (1) an insured is entitled to a determination of liability and the full extent of his damages in a UM action before filing a first-party bad faith action; and (2) that determination of damages is generally binding, as an element of damages, in a subsequent first-party bad faith action.  http://www.floridasupremecourt.org/decisions/2016/sc13-1607.pdf


Written by:

Cozen O'Connor

Cozen O'Connor on:

Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Custom Email Digest
- hide
- hide

This website uses cookies to improve user experience, track anonymous site usage, store authorization tokens and permit sharing on social media networks. By continuing to browse this website you accept the use of cookies. Click here to read more about how we use cookies.