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Aligned Bayshore Holdings, LLC v. Westchester Surplus Lines Insurance Co.

United States District Court, S.D. Florida

September 12, 2019

Aligned Bayshore Holdings, LLC, Plaintiff,
v.
Westchester Surplus Lines Insurance Company, Defendant.

          ORDER ON PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION

          Robert N. Scola, Jr. United States District Judge

         This matter is before the Court on Plaintiffs' motion for reconsideration and motion to vacate judgment. (ECF No. 89.) The Defendants responded (ECF No. 93) and the Plaintiffs timely replied (ECF No. 95). Having considered the parties' arguments, the record, and the relevant legal authority, the Court grants in part and denies in part the Plaintiffs' motion. (ECF No. 89.)

         I. Background

         Westchester issued an insurance policy to Aligned that provided coverage for Aligned's windstorm and flood damage claims, including physical damage and business interruption to both Monty's Restaurant (the building) and the marina area. (ECF No. 48 at ¶ 2). On September 10, 2017, Aligned sustained losses due to the impacts of Hurricane Irma. (Id. at ¶ 3.) Aligned notified Westchester of its losses, but claims Westchester did not promptly pay all covered losses to Aligned. (ECF No. 6 at ¶¶ 9-11.) Aligned alleges that its damages exceeds $15.5 million, with the majority of the damage sustained to the marina. (ECF No. 49 at ¶ 35.) Westchester has paid over $3 million in insurance claims to Aligned. (ECF No. 48 at 4.)

         Aligned's position is that the insurance policy provides $10 million in blanket flood damage coverage. This $10 million flood coverage is not subject to a statement of values. Aligned alleges in its breach of contract claim that Westchester willfully misinterpreted the insurance policy by improperly relying on an unverified statement of values to cap its coverage. (See id. at ¶ 19-20.) Westchester maintains that it properly interpreted the contract based on the statement of values on file and has paid out the policy maximum under the insurance policy's flood coverage. (ECF No. 48 at 1.) Aligned argues that if the Court were to find that a statement of values applies, the correct statement of values is the one attached to Aligned's insurance application. (ECF No. 54 at 11.)

         The parties cross-moved for summary judgment. (ECF Nos. 48 and 49.) The Court granted summary judgment in favor of Westchester and found that a statement of values applies to the flood coverage under the insurance policy and that the statement of values on file with Westchester governs. Aligned now moves for reconsideration and asks the Court to vacate the final judgment entered in favor of Westchester. (ECF No. 89.)

         II. Legal Standard

         The decision to grant or deny a motion for reconsideration is committed to the district court's sound discretion. See Chapman v. AI Transport, 299 F.3d 1012, 1023-24 (11th Cir. 2000) (review reconsideration decision for abuse of discretion). Reconsideration is appropriate only in very limited circumstances, such as where “the Court has patently misunderstood a party, where there is an intervening change in controlling law or the facts of a case, or where there is manifest injustice.” See Vila v. Padron, No. 04-20520-CIV, 2005 WL 6104075, at *1 (S.D. Fla. Mar. 31, 2005) (Altonaga, J.). “Such problems rarely arise and the motion to reconsider should be equally rare.” See Id. (citation omitted). To obtain reconsideration, “the party must do more than simply restate its previous arguments, and any arguments the party failed to raise in the earlier motion will be deemed waived.” See id. “[A] motion for reconsideration should not be used as a vehicle to present authorities available at the time of the first decision or to reiterate arguments previously made.” Z.K. Marine Inc. v. M/V Archigetis, 808 F.Supp. 1561, 1563 (S.D. Fla. 1992) (Hoeveler, J.).

         III. Analysis

         A. Whether a Statement of Values Applies to Flood Coverage

         Aligned reiterates arguments made in its motion for summary judgment and opposition to Weschester's motion for summary judgment. Namely, that the Court must consider the policy as a whole in determining the scope of the flood coverage. (ECF No. 89 at 3.) With regard to Aligned's specific argument that the Earthquake and Volcanic Eruption Coverage Form references a Statement of Values and therefore the Flood Coverage Form's failure to mention a Statement of Values means that it does not apply, the Court finds this argument unpersuasive. The policy is a complicated and lengthy document. (See ECF No. 47-1.) There are a number of provisions that seem inconsistent if read in isolation and other provisions that remain opaque even when read in context. For example, the Earthquake and Volcanic Eruption Endorsement, which Aligned wants the Court to compare to the Flood Endorsement, states:

For property or coverage that is subject to a Blanket Limit on Earthquake - Volcanic Eruption (as shown in the Earthquake - Volcanic Eruption Coverage Schedule or in the Declarations), we will not pay more than we would pay in the absence of such Blanket Limit. Therefore, the maximum amount payable for any such item of property or coverage is the Limit of Insurance or stated value (as shown in the Statement of Values on file with us) specific to that item of property or coverage[.]

(ECF No. 47-1 at 93.) Here, the policy states that if there is blanket coverage, Westchester will not pay more than it would pay in the absence of blanket coverage and therefore the statement of values applies. The policy is reasserting the applicability of the statement of values even when there is blanket coverage. This section of the policy may actually bolster the Court's holding in its Order on the parties' cross motions for summary judgment: because flood coverage is not subject to blanket coverage, the policy does not need to clarify that the statement of values applies even when there is blanket coverage. But the Court does not find it helpful to look at other coverage provisions to understand the flood coverage because the inclusion or exclusion of some language creates more confusion than clarity in this instance.

         Aligned also reiterates its arguments that (1) the statement of values is only applicable to those covered causes of loss contained in the causes of loss-special form; (2) certain language was removed from the Flood Declarations without Aligned's knowledge; and (3) that Aligned paid a significant premium for flood coverage. The Court did not ...


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