FINAL UNTIL TIME EXPIRES TO FILE REHEARING MOTION AND, IF
from the Circuit Court for Polk County; John M. Radabaugh,
E. Samis of Traub Lieberman Straus & Shrewsberry, LLP,
St. Petersburg, for Appellant.
Richard N. Asfar and George A. Vaka of Vaka Law Group, P.L.,
Tampa and Richard T. Heiden of Richard T. Heiden, P.A.,
Clearwater, for Appellees.
Insurance Company seeks review of a final judgment awarding
William and Joan Wallace just over $200, 000 for subsurface
remediation in their sinkhole action. The final judgment was
based on a directed verdict entered after the trial court
refused to consider the testimony of Omega's expert
engineers and the neutral evaluator regarding the proper
method of subsurface repair. We conclude that the proper
method of subsurface repair is a jury question and reverse.
appeal arises from a sinkhole insurance claim under a policy
issued by Omega to the Wallaces in August 2010. Much of the
argument on appeal, as in the trial court, concerns expert
testimony and the proper definition of certain terms used in
the Omega policy. The policy contains a sinkhole loss
coverage endorsement which provides, in pertinent part, as
We insure for direct physical loss to property covered under
Section I caused by a Sinkhole Loss, including the costs
1. Stabilize the land and building; and
2. Repair the foundation;
In accordance with the recommendations of the
professional engineer who verifies the presence of a Sinkhole
Loss in compliance with Florida sinkhole testing
standards and in consultation with you.
(Emphasis added.) It also provides the following definitions:
"Sinkhole Activity" means settlement or systematic
weakening of the earth supporting such property only when
such settlement or systematic weakening results from movement
or raveling of soils, sediments, or rock materials into
subterranean voids created by the ...