Verdicts & Settlements: Broward County Jury Awards Homeowners Full Damages From A Pipe Leak

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Verdicts & Settlements: Broward County Jury Awards Homeowners Full Damages From A Pipe Leak

Fort Lauderdale, FL – The Firm’s First Party Property Practice scored a trial victory this week when a Broward County Jury unanimously agreed with our clients’ property damage claim and awarded them the full amount of the damages sustained to their home as a result of a pipe leak.

Kanner & Pintaluga partners Alexis Altman and Levi Wilkes represented Milton and Beatrice Brilus against their homeowner’s insurance company, Universal Property & Casualty Insurance Company, in a fully denied water loss claim. Immediately after discovering the water damage, Mr. and Mrs. Brilus complied with the policy’s post-loss duties to protect the property from further damage by drying out the property and reported their claim to Universal. Universal sent a field adjuster to the property, and a couple of days before the 90-day deadline to render a coverage decision, it decided to send a plumber to the property, but that inspection never occurred. Universal also asked for records and other documents, which were provided. Despite Mr. and Mrs. Brilus’ cooperation with Universal’s investigation and compliance with the policy, Universal denied the claim for failure to comply with post-loss duties and stated Mr. and Mrs. Brilus prejudiced the investigation.

The case proceeded to a jury trial before the Honorable Michael Robinson. During trial, we argued and showed that there was an accidental discharge of water from a pipe that was hidden in the wall and floor and that leak caused damages. We also showed that we complied with Universal’s investigation and the policy’s post-loss duties. Universal, however, convinced the judge to allow them to also argue policy exclusions of wear and tear and constant and repeated seepage of water. To support those defenses, Universal relied upon an expert engineer, who testified that he never inspected the property and testified that he formulated his opinion during trial. It also attempted to argue Mr. and Mrs. Brilus failed to comply with the policy’s post-loss duties.

Prior to trial, the Firm made every effort to resolve the claim with the insurance company, which was met with multiple low ball offers from Universal. After a five-day trial and an hour and a half jury deliberation, the jury saw through Universal’s defenses and returned a full verdict for our client for $168,168.77.

The case is Brilus v. Universal Prop. & Cas. Ins. Co., Case No.: CACE-21-020760 in the Circuit Court of the 17th Judicial Circuit, Broward County, Florida.

Get What you Deserve
Founded in 2003, Kanner & Pintaluga is a NLJ500 and Mid-Market Pro 50 law firm that has recovered over $1 billion for property damage and personal injury clients nationwide. With nearly 100 lawyers and more than 30 offices throughout the Central and Southeastern United States, our primary goal is to achieve the most favorable outcome for our clients, who have the absolute right to receive the maximum compensation for their damages. If we can assist you or if you’d simply like to speak to an attorney about getting the help you need, please do not hesitate to contact us. Our team is always available to discuss your rights and make certain that you and your family are protected.