Sinkhole Jury Verdict against Tower Hill Insurance Company
Posted in General on May 17, 2013
For the past three years, our clients have had to live with sinkhole damage to their home while they battled with their insurance carrier, Tower Hill Select Insurance Company, to obtain coverage for the repair of this damage. Time and time again, Tower Hill Select refused to provide any assistance to our clients for their sinkhole damage and instead, threatened to pursue legal action against them for the insurance company’s attorney’s fees and costs. Recently, we were able to finally obtain justice for our clients at trial.
On the first day of trial, the Court struck all of our experts’ testing and data which reflected the existence of sinkhole activity on the property. The Court made this ruling because the insurance company was able to confuse the Court as to the law applicable to this matter and to convince the Court that our clients’ testing and data was “not relevant” as to the issue of existence of sinkhole activity on the property. Although the Court’s ruling on this issue created a right for our clients to appeal this ruling and to seek the reversal of same, at trial we had no option but to push forward and to do the best we could for our clients with the evidence we had – the only thing we had left to present to the jury was the data obtained by the insurance company’s experts. Fortunately, the data and opinions set forth by the insurance company’s experts were clearly biased towards denying the claim and replete with errors and omissions.
In the end, the jury saw through the shell game set forth by Tower Hill Select and their experts and we were able to obtain a jury verdict for the full amount of our clients’ damages. This victory was especially sweet as we were able to prove our case merely through the severe impeachment of the insurance company’s experts and the ability to greatly discredit their biased data. Since we were the prevailing party at trial, the insurance company is now also responsible for the payment of not only all the attorney’s fees and costs associated with our representation of our clients, but also pre-judgment interest on the full amount of the jury award for the past several years.
Although we would hope that insurance companies would eventually learn that it makes financial (if not ethical) sense to “do right” by their customers from the very beginning, our recent experience with these companies reflect the direct opposite. Thankfully, the jury trial process in Florida remains strong and allows us the opportunity to obtain justice for our clients.