United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Ocala Division
S. MOODY, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
CAUSE comes before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion for
Entry of Judgment on Partial Findings (Doc. 36), and
Defendant's Response (Doc. 42). Upon review and
consideration, the Court concludes final judgment should be
2013, Plaintiff Life Changing Ministries, Inc.
(“LCM”) made a sinkhole claim to its surplus
lines insurance carrier, Defendant Canopius U.S. Insurance,
Inc. Canopius denied the claim. After more than a year, LCM
filed a civil remedy notice of insurer violation
(“CRN”) and later provided Canopius an
engineer's report confirming sinkhole activity. Canopius
denied the allegations in the CRN, and LCM sued for breach of
contract on December 31, 2014. LCM invoked neutral evaluation
after filing the lawsuit. The neutral evaluator determined
that there was sinkhole activity and estimated the cost of
above-ground and sub-surface repairs. Based on the neutral
evaluator's findings, Canopius paid the claim rather than
continuing to contest coverage.
Canopius paid the claim, LCM moved for partial summary
judgment based on Canopius' alleged confession of
judgment. (Doc. 14). In its motion, LCM “request[ed]
that the Court allow the trial to go forward on the amount of
above ground damages and/or adequacy of the below-ground
remediation….” (Doc. 14, p. 10). The Court
granted LCM's motion for partial summary judgment despite
its belief that “Canopius did nothing wrong while
handling LCM's claim, ” and noting that the Court
would take into account whether litigation was necessary when
determining the reasonableness of LCM's attorneys'
fees. (Doc. 25, p. 5, 9-10). As such, the Court resolved
liability and LCM's entitlement to attorneys' fees,
but left open the issue of damages per LCM's
months later, LCM filed the instant Motion for Judgment on
Partial Findings (Doc. 36), pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 52(c). In this Motion, LCM now argues that
“the only issue remaining is the issue of LCM's
attorneys' fees and costs.” (Doc. 36, ¶ 2).
LCM, apparently, has changed its position (without
explanation) that damages were unresolved. Now LCM requests
that the Court enter judgment based on its previous findings
in the summary judgment order.
Canopius argues the Court should not enter final judgment.
Canopius does not argue that there is still an issue that
needs to be resolved at trial; instead it argues that the
Court may need additional evidence as to the reasonableness
of LCM's attorneys' fees. Apparently, Canopius
believes this evidence must be provided prior to entry of
simply, the Court is confused by both LCM and Canopius's
positions. LCM asked for only a partial summary judgment
because damages were contested, but now argues, without any
explanation of why it is changing position, that damages are
not an issue. LCM also cites to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 52(c), entitled “Judgment on Partial
Findings, ” which is wholly inapplicable. The rule
states, “If a party has been fully heard on an issue
during a nonjury trial….” There has
been no trial in this case, nonjury or otherwise.
for its part, also may have been confused. That may explain
why it appears to be belaboring under the belief that
evidence on the reasonableness of LCM's attorneys'
fees must be presented before LCM has filed a motion a for
attorneys' fees pursuant to Rule 54(d)(2). To the
contrary, the time for the Court to receive evidence on the
reasonableness of attorneys' fees is once a motion to tax
fees has been made.
the confusion, it is clear to the Court that there are no
issues left to be resolved other than the amount of LCM's
attorneys' fees. Because there are no pending claims,
judgment should be entered in favor of LCM on its breach of
it is ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that:
1. Plaintiff's Motion for Entry of Judgment on Partial
Findings (Doc. 36) is GRANTED to the extent Plaintiff's
request entry of final judgment.
2. The Clerk is directed to enter final judgment in favor of
Plaintiff Life Changing Ministries, Inc., and against