United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division
VIRGINIA M. HERNANDEZ COVINGTON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court upon consideration of Defendant
Safety National Casualty Corporation's Motion for Summary
Judgment, filed on May 1, 2017. (Doc. # 14). Plaintiff City
of Bradenton filed a response in opposition on May 19, 2017.
(Doc. # 16). For the reasons that follow, the Motion is
October of 2000, Safety National and the City entered into an
insurance contract for excess workers' compensation
coverage with a policy period of October 1, 2001, to October
1, 2002. (Doc. # 14-1). Under the policy, Safety National
would provide coverage to the City for any loss above a
specified amount the City incurred on account of an
employee's bodily injury caused by an accident or
occupational disease. (Id. at 1). The specified
amount the City had to incur before the policy's excess
coverage applied was $400, 000. (Id. at 8). The
policy additionally states under the heading
If the [City] pays any Loss incurred in any Liability Period
in excess of the [$400, 000] Self-Insured Retention Per
Occurrence, [Safety National] shall reimburse the [City] upon
receipt of a formal proof of loss and other evidence
acceptable to [Safety National] of such payment. Within a
reasonable period of time, reimbursement payments shall be
made by [Safety National].
(Id. at 5).
April of 2001, a City of Bradenton police officer, J.L.,
tested positive for Hepatitis C and was deemed disabled in
December of 2001. (Doc. # 2 at ¶ 6; Doc. # 14-2). Under
Florida law, police officers who contract Hepatitis C under
certain conditions are deemed to have contracted the disease
in the line of duty. (Doc. # 1 at ¶ 7). Because the
police officer met those statutory conditions, he was able to
submit a workers' compensation claim that the City
City sent Safety National “Large Loss Reports, ”
which summarized the benefits the City had paid out to J.L.
and provided status updates on his condition. (Doc. # 14-9).
The “Large Loss Report” dated August 31, 2011,
reflected that the City had paid benefits exceeding $400,
000. (Doc. # 14-9 at 5-6). On October 10, 2011, Safety
National sent the City a letter stating, in relevant part,
We have completed our investigation and determined that we
must deny coverage of the loss as it was reported late and,
as a result, we were kept from the opportunity to participate
in the investigation and defense of the claim. Further, the
loss did not occur during our Liability Period. . . . The
correct date of loss is 5/29/1999 which pre-dates our
liability coverage. Under the Coverage of Agreement section
cited above, our policy only covers occurrences that take
place within our Liability Period.
(Doc. # 14-11). The City received the letter on October 25,
2011. (Doc. # 14-12 at 2-3).
Safety National's letter, the City sent Safety National
an initial Request for Excess Reimbursement on June 28, 2012.
(Doc. # 14-14). Safety National denied the City's first
Request for Reimbursement on June 28, 2012, in an email
stating, “Thank you for the correspondence and request
for reimbursement on the above claim. However, Safety
National has denied coverage for this claim on 10/10/2011.
Our position remains unchanged.” (Doc. # 14-15). The
City submitted numerous requests for reimbursement in the
following months, all of which Safety National denied on the
same grounds. (Doc. # 14-16).
City filed its Complaint in state court on November 23, 2016,
bringing claims for declaratory relief and breach of
contract. (Doc. # 2). Safety National removed the case to
this Court on February 2, 2017, and filed its answer and
affirmative defenses on February 13, 2017. (Doc. ## 1, 5). As
one of its affirmative defenses, Safety National
“affirmatively states that the applicable Statute of
Limitations precludes the City from pursuing the relief that
it is seeking in this action.” (Doc. # 5 at 6).
the Court's permission (Doc. # 12 at 1), Safety National
filed its Motion for Summary Judgment addressing only the
statute of limitations issue on May 1, 2017. (Doc. # 14). The
City responded on May 19, 2017. (Doc. # 16). The Motion is
ripe for review.