Florida vegetable grower loses appeal of Hurricane Irma-related casePosted On: Apr. 11, 2023 1:29 PM CST
A federal appeals court on Monday affirmed a lower court ruling in Lloyd’s underwriters’ favor in Hurricane Irma-related litigation filed by a Florida vegetable grower.
The operations of Delray Beach-based Pero Family Farm Food Co. Ltd. include growing vegetables for retail and wholesale trade and sending seeds to a third-party grower that grows them into seedlings until they are mature enough to be transported to Pero’s fields, according to the ruling by the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta in Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s of London subscribing to Policy No. B0799c029630K v. Pero Family Farm Food Co. Ltd.
After Hurricane Irma struck South Florida in September 2017, Pero submitted claims for damages, including coverage for the loss of vegetables stored in coolers in Delray Beach; seedlings that had been growing in the third-party greenhouses; plants that had been growing in Pero’s fields; and plastic covering for plants in the fields.
Lloyd’s paid for Pero’s loss of the vegetables in its coolers but denied coverage on the remaining claims. It filed suit against Pero in U.S. District Court in Miami seeking a declaration its policy did not cover the damages it had refused to cover, and Pero countersued for breach of policy.
The district court ruled in Lloyd’s favor and was affirmed by a three-judge appeals court panel.
Pero Farm’s policy “unambiguously covered goods or merchandise only while they were in transit, or by extension, ‘in store’, as ‘stock’ at a ‘location’ during the transit process,” the panel said, in affirming the lower court.
Attorneys in the case did not respond to requests for comment.
In December, the 11th Circuit ruled in favor of an Arch Capital Group Ltd. unit in a dispute with a hotel owner over damages caused by Hurricane Irma.