Verdicts & Settlements: Jury Awards Homeowner New Roof Against Citizens Property Insurance Corporation

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Verdicts & Settlements: Jury Awards Homeowner New Roof Against Citizens Property Insurance Corporation

Fort Lauderdale, FL – After only needing a brief time to deliberate, a Broward County Jury unanimously agreed with our client’s property damage claim and awarded from their insurance company, Citizens Property Insurance Corporation (“Citizens”), the full amount for a new roof which was damaged by Hurricane Irma.

On September 1, 2017, just nine days before Hurricane Irma, Citizens issued a policy insuring our client’s home. After experiencing a roof leak in 2019, our clients hired a licensed roofer to perform repairs, who, while at our client’s property, discovered that the roof had sustained extensive wind damage. At the roofer’s suggestion, our clients reported the loss to Citizens. Citizens sent a field adjuster who inspected the roof and ultimately retained an engineering firm to investigate. The engineering firm concluded that all of the damages to the roof were the result of foot traffic (multiple people walking on the roof and breaking tiles) and thermal forces (expansion and contraction caused by the sun). Based on that opinion, Citizens wholly denied the claim for wear and tear and deterioration.

In October 2021, the case was referred to Kanner & Pintaluga after the clients terminated their prior counsel, who consistently tried to push the trial off for a variety of reasons and tried to convince our clients to accept a settlement amount that would not even fix one roof tile, let alone replace an entire roof.

After more than six months of litigation with Citizens, Kanner & Pintaluga attorneys Joel Ortega, Shawn Gibbons, and Partner Matt Gottlieb, tried the case before a six-member jury. Interestingly, during the claim process and litigation, Citizens never raised a late notice defense – though, they attempted to make that an issue at trial. Ultimately, Citizens was precluded from arguing that defense. Following the three-day trial, the jury returned a verdict finding the loss was due to the hurricane, occurred during the policy period, and awarded our clients the full award necessary to allow our client’s home to be returned to its pre-hurricane condition by means of a roof replacement.

The case is Peter Sobota and Lisa Sobota v. Citizens Property Insurance Corporation, Case No.: CACE-19-021390 in the Circuit Court of the 17th Judicial Circuit, Broward County, Florida.

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Kanner & Pintaluga is an aggressive, ethical, and results-driven national plaintiff firm committed to representing accident, serious injury, and property damage victims. With a team of nearly 100 attorneys, we have the experience and expertise to achieve the most favorable outcome for our clients. 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.