Homeowners Choice Property and Casualty Insurance Company, Inc., Petitioner,
Raul Avila and Doxanne Avila, Respondents.
final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.
of Certiorari to the Circuit Court for Miami-Dade County, No.
15-20238 Antonio Arzola, Judge.
Scott & Kissane, P.A., and Kathryn L. Ender and Therese
A. Savona, for petitioner.
B. Pakula, P.A., and David B. Pakula (Pembroke Pines); Perry
& Neblett, P.A., and David A. Neblett, James M. Mahaffey
III and John A. Wynn, for respondents.
SALTER, EMAS and LOGUE, JJ.
Choice Property and Casualty Insurance Company
("Homeowners Choice") seeks certiorari review of
the trial court's order requiring Homeowners Choice to
produce certain items from its "claim file" in the
underlying coverage dispute. Because we are bound by our
existing precedent, including Castle Key Ins. Co. v.
Benitez, 124 So.3d 379 (Fla. 3d DCA 2013), we grant the
petition and quash the order under review.
underlying dispute arises out of the Avilas' insurance
claim for damage caused to their property. The Avilas'
homeowner's insurer, Homeowners Choice, made some initial
payments following the Avilas' submission of their claim.
However, on June 9, 2015, the Avilas' public adjuster
sent a letter to Homeowners Choice, contesting the adequacy
of the payments made. Homeowners Choice reopened the claim
and made an additional payment, which the Avilas allege was
still inadequate to cover the damage caused to their
the Avilas sued for breach of contract, in addition to
alleged statutory violations. After the complaint was filed,
the Avilas served a request for production on Homeowners
Choice, seeking, inter alia, "[a]ny documents
relating to the claim file, " "[a]ll statements
obtained by you, your attorneys or investigators, regarding
any aspect of the subject property and/or subject claim, of
Plaintiffs or Defendant, its employees, agents or servants,
recorded oral or written . . ., " "[a]ny documents
relating to evaluations of the loss, " "[a]ny
documents relating to any issues of insurance coverage,
" "[a] copy of all documents that contain or relate
to any conclusions of the Defendant's employees,
adjusters or agents that did any work or rendered any
services for this claim, " "[a]ny documents which
would reflect the date litigation was anticipated for the
subject claim, " and "[a]ll claim documents prior
to the date litigation was anticipated for the subject
claim." In response, Homeowners Choice produced several
of the requested items, but also objected to a number of the
requests for production, asserting those items were protected
by work product privilege and/or a "claims file
Choice contemporaneously filed a privilege log, and the trial
court conducted an in camera inspection of the
disputed items. Despite argument by Homeowners Choice that
many of the documents in its claim file were privileged, the
trial court ordered some of the documents be produced,
finding that they were not protected by either the work
product privilege or a "claims file privilege."
This petition followed.
Nationwide Ins. Co. of Fla. v. Demmo, 57 So.3d 982
(Fla. 2d DCA 2011), the Second District considered a case
with virtually identical underlying facts. Demmo filed an
insurance claim, in 2008, with her insurer, Nationwide, for
damage to her home caused by a sinkhole. Id. at 983.
Nationwide approved and paid that initial claim. Id.
On May 4, 2009, Demmo filed a second claim for water