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Grey Oaks Country Club, Inc. v. Zurich American Insurance Co.

United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Fort Myers Division

September 23, 2019




         This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff’s Motion for Reconsideration or, in the Alternative, For Relief Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1292(b) (Doc. #62) filed on August 12, 2019. Defendant filed a Response in Opposition (Doc. #76) on September 4, 2019, and plaintiff replied (Doc. #84). For the reasons set forth below, the Motion is denied.


         This case involves an insurance coverage dispute for damages to plaintiff’s country club property in Naples, Florida from Hurricane Irma. Plaintiff Grey Oaks Country Club, Inc. (plaintiff or Grey Oaks) alleges that Zurich American Insurance Company (defendant or Zurich) breached its coverage obligations to Grey Oaks under a commercial insurance policy, which is attached to the Amended Complaint (Doc. #20-1, the “Policy”) (Count I), and acted in bad faith in contravention of Fla. Stat. § 624.155 (Count II). The Court dismissed Count II (Doc. #8); therefore, only the breach of contract count for defendant’s failure to compensate Grey Oaks in the full amount of its damages and loss resulting from Hurricane Irma remains. Defendant filed an Answer (Doc. #23) on January 18, 2019.

         The parties cross moved for partial judgment on the pleadings, asking the Court to favor their interpretation of the limits of coverage for “Golf Course Outdoor Grounds” available under the Policy, which turns on the determination of what the word “premises” means under the endorsement. Grey Oaks argued that the Policy contains a Schedule of Locations that specifically lists 19 locations, thereby producing up to $9, 500, 000 of available coverage for the club’s outdoor damages due to Hurricane Irma. Zurich asserted that there is only one “premises”.

         On July 15, 2019, the Court issued an Opinion and Order (Doc. #55) denying plaintiff’s Motion and granting in part defendant’s Motion. In sum, the Court found that the definition of “premises” in the Policy is unambiguous and that there are two “premises” for purposes of the Golf Course Outdoor Grounds Coverage – 2400 Grey Oaks Dr N. and 1600 Estuary Dr. Therefore, the Court denied Grey Oaks’ Motion and granted Zurich’s Motion to the extent the Court limited the premises to the two addresses listed above subject to the Policy’s $500, 000 per premises limit of liability in the Golf Course Outdoor Grounds Coverage insuring agreement.

         Grey Oaks contends that the Court committed clear error under Florida law and manifest injustice warrants reconsideration of the Court’s Opinion for “multiple reasons” but only specifically discusses three reasons. (Doc. #62 at 2.) First, after rejecting Zurich’s interpretation of the Policy as unreasonable, the Court should have deemed the Policy ambiguous at best and construed it liberally in Grey Oaks’ favor. Second, the Court refused to give any meaning to the Schedule of Locations within the property coverage section even though the Policy’s plain language makes clear that this schedule applies to the entire Policy. And third, the Court declined to apply the Schedule of Locations because Grey Oaks did not cite any legal authority for the proposition that a policy’s “Common Policy Forms and Endorsements” must be applied to all coverage sections. (Id.)

         If the Court determines that reconsideration is not warranted, Grey Oaks alternatively requests that the Court certify this case for interlocutory appeal.

         II. Reconsideration

         A. Standard

         The decision to grant a motion for reconsideration is within the sound discretion of the trial court and may be granted to correct an abuse of discretion. Region 8 Forest Serv. Timber Purchasers Council v. Alcock, 993 F.2d 800, 806 (11th Cir. 1993). “The courts have delineated three major grounds justifying reconsideration of such a decision: (1) an intervening change in controlling law; (2) the availability of new evidence; (3) the need to correct clear error or prevent manifest injustice.” Sussman v. Salem, Saxon & Nielsen, P.A., 153 F.R.D. 689, 694 (M.D. Fla. 1994). Here, Grey Oaks argues that the third ground warrants reconsideration – the need to correct clear error or prevent manifest injustice.

         “A motion for reconsideration should raise new issues, not merely readdress issues litigated previously.” PaineWebber Income Props. Three Ltd. P’ship v. Mobil Oil Corp., 902 F.Supp. 1514, 1521 (M.D. Fla. 1995). The motion must set forth facts or law of a strongly convincing nature to demonstrate to the court the reason to reverse its prior decision. Taylor Woodrow Const. Corp. v. Sarasota/Manatee Airport Auth., 814 F.Supp. 1072, 1073 (M.D. Fla. 1993); PaineWebber, 902 F.Supp. at 1521. “When issues have been carefully considered and decisions rendered, the only reason which should commend reconsideration of that decision is a change in the factual or legal underpinning upon which the decision was based. Taylor Woodrow, 814 F.Supp. at 1072-73.

         A motion for reconsideration does not provide an opportunity to simply reargue - or argue for the first time - an issue the Court has already determined. Court opinions “are not intended as mere first drafts, subject to revision and reconsideration at a litigant’s pleasure.” Quaker Alloy Casting Co. v. Gulfco Indus., Inc., 123 F.R.D. 282, 288 (N.D. Ill. 1988). “The burden is upon the movant to establish the extraordinary circumstances supporting reconsideration.” Mannings v. School Bd. of Hillsborough County, Fla., 149 F.R.D. 235, 235 (M.D. Fla. 1993). Unless the movant’s arguments fall into the limited categories outlined above, a motion to reconsider must be denied.

         B. ...

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