final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.
Appeal from the Circuit Court for Miami-Dade County Lower
Tribunal No. 14-29169, Rosa I. Rodriguez, Judge.
& Bowen, LLP, Stephen T. Maher, Frank A. Zacherl, and
Alfredo L. Gonzalez, Jr., for appellant.
Deutsch & Blumberg, P.A. and Edward R. Blumberg; James C.
Blecke; Tabas, Freedman, Soloff, P.A. and Joel L. Tabas and
Joshua D. Silver; Michael Seth Cohen; Easley Appellate
Practice, PLLC, and Dorothy F. Easley, for appellees.
ROTHENBERG, C.J., and FERNANDEZ, and LOGUE, JJ.
General Insurance Company appeals from two final summary
judgments entered in favor of appellees Kathleen and Michael
Kastenholz, and appellee Barry Mukamal who is the
court-appointed receiver for Carlos Lacayo, on the claim for
declaratory judgment. We affirm the judgments, concluding
that insurance coverage existed as a matter of law because
there was no genuine issue of material fact that GEICO failed
to comply with the Claims Administration Statute, section
627.426, Florida Statutes (2015).
Kastenholzes sued Lacayo for the wrongful death of their son
that resulted from an automobile accident. GEICO first
notified Lacayo of its reservation of rights to deny coverage
because Lacayo was not listed as a driver under the insurance
policy. Lacayo absconded and his whereabouts are unknown.
GEICO thereafter notified Lacayo of its reservation of rights
because Lacayo failed to cooperate with GEICO's
investigation. GEICO issued numerous other reservation of
rights letters. GEICO represented Lacayo for a period of
years and throughout post judgment proceedings. The jury
ultimately returned a verdict for $15, 350, 000 in favor of
the Kastenholzes. The trial court entered final judgments
consistent with the jury's verdict. GEICO subsequently
sought to decline coverage based on the coverage defense of
breach of cooperation.
coverage defense failed to comply with the requirements of
the Claims Administration Statute. The plain and unambiguous
language of section 627.426 states:
(2) A liability insurer shall not be permitted to deny
coverage based on a particular coverage defense unless:
(a) Within 30 days after the liability insurer knew or should
have known of the coverage defense, written notice of
reservation of rights to assert a coverage defense is given
to the named insured by registered or certified mail sent to
the last known address of the insured or by hand delivery;
(b) Within 60 days of compliance with paragraph (a) or
receipt of a summons and complaint naming the insured as a
defendant, whichever is later, but in no case later than 30
days before trial, the insurer:
1.Gives written notice to the named insured by registered or
certified mail of its refusal to defend the
2. Obtains from the insured a nonwaiver
agreement following full disclosure of the specific
facts and policy provisions upon which the coverage defense
is asserted and the duties, obligations, and liabilities of
the insurer during ...