Florida Supreme Court: Notice of Right to Repair is a CGL “Suit;” SDV Amicus Brief Supports Decision
The New Year started off with a bang for Florida construction insurance policyholders. In late December, the Florida Supreme Court acknowledged a contractor’s right to a CGL defense during Florida’s right-to-repair process. Under Florida law, a property owner may not sue a contractor for construction defects without first providing written notice and an opportunity to repair.
Altman Contractors, Inc. v. Crum & Forster Specialty Ins. Co. decided that the notice to repair is a “suit,” which may trigger the duty to defend.
SDV lawyers Gregory D. Podolak and Brian J. Clifford argued the policyholder position on behalf of amicus curiae United Policyholders, contending that the ISO standard definition of “suit” includes Florida’s notice to repair procedure. The Court agreed, holding that the process is an “alternative dispute resolution proceeding.” This is a significant victory for policyholders in what is rapidly becoming a debate on the national stage and will serve as strong incentive for insurers to get involved in construction defect disputes much earlier.