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A federal district court in Florida has refused to dismiss litigation filed by a roofing company that is charging an American International Group Inc. unit with breach of contract for refusing to pay for more than $6 million in damage to a condominium caused by 2017’s Hurricane Irma.
In September 2017, buildings covered by a policy issued by AIG unit Lexington Insurance Co. to the Coronado Condominium Owners Association Inc. in Fort Myers, Florida, were damaged by Hurricane Irma, according to court documents in SFR Services v. Lexington Insurance Co.
AIG subsequently refused to pay more than $6 million in damages to Stuart, Florida-based SFR Services, which was assigned proceeds in the case, according to court papers in the case.
The U.S. District Court in Fort Myers refused to dismiss the case in Thursday’s ruling. AIG sought dismissal of the case because, it said, SFR had failed to comply with a request for completion of a sworn proof of loss statement and relevant books and records it had requested pursuant to the insurance policy, according to the ruling.
AIG, though, cites evidence “outside the pleadings” and the court “will not consider such extrinsic evidence in ruling on the instant motion to dismiss,” said the decision.
“Further, the Complaint’s allegation that ‘(a)ll conditions precedent to the institution of this action have either been performed or have occurred’ is sufficient to satisfy the pleading requirement” under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, said the court, in refusing to dismiss the case.
SFR attorney Aaron B. Thalwitzer, a partner with Gordon & Thalwitzer in Coca Beach, Florida, said in a statement, “We’re pleased with the court’s denial of the carrier’s motion to dismiss, and we hope this is the first step to obtaining the funds owed under the policy because they’re badly needed to replace our client’s customer’s damaged roofs. Every day we have to litigate is another day that the customer runs the risk of suffering additional damage. That being said, we understand that Judge (John E.) Steele, in denying the motion, was doing no more or less than following the law, which is all we would ever ask from a judge.”
AIG’s attorney could not be reached.
In July, the same court in Fort Myers held that a Zurich Insurance Group Ltd. unit must provide coverage to a Florida country club for only two locations under an outdoor grounds policy endorsement, in a coverage dispute over damage caused by Hurricane Irma.
Federal workplace safety regulators have cited a Florida roofing contractor for exposing employees to fall hazards and proposed $149,662 in fines.