United States District Court, S.D. Florida, Miami Division
ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO COMPEL APPRAISAL
FEDERICO A. MORENO UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
CAUSE came before the Court upon Defendant's Motion to
Dismiss Complaint and to Compel Appraisal and Abate All
Proceedings Pending Completion of Appraisal (D.E. 3), filed
on March 19, 2019.
COURT has considered the motion, the response, the reply, the
pertinent portions of the record, and is otherwise fully
advised in the premises.
Florida law, "appraisal provisions contained within
insurance policies are generally treated the same as
arbitration provisions." Wright Way Emergency Water
Removal, LLC v. Mt. Hawley Ins. Co., No.
8:16-cv-1163-T-17MAP, 2016 WL 9526569, at *2 (M.D. Fla. July
29, 2016) (collecting cases). Consequently, "motions to
compel appraisal should be granted whenever the parties have
agreed to the provision." Id. (citing
Preferred Mut. Ins. Co. v. Martinez, 643 So.2d 1101,
1103 (Fla. 3d DCA 1994)). Enforcing appraisal provisions are
"preferred over lawsuits 'as they provide a
mechanism for prompt resolution of claims and discourage the
filing of needless lawsuits.'" Id. (quoting
First Protective Ins. Co. v. Hess, 81 So.3d 482, 485
(Fla. 1st DCA 2011)).
Section G of the Conditions section of the applicable policy
between the Parties contains the following appraisal
If you and we fail to agree on the amount of loss, either
may demand an appraisal of the loss. In this event, each
party will choose a competent and impartial
appraiser within 20 days after receiving a written request
from the other. The two appraisers will choose an
umpire. If they cannot agree upon an umpire within 15 days,
you or we may request that the choice be made by a judge of a
court of record in the state where the Described Location is
located. The appraisers will separately set the
amount of loss. If the appraisers submit a written report of
an agreement to us, the amount agreed upon will be
the amount of loss. If they fail to agree, they will
submit their differences to the umpire. A decision agreed to
by any two will set the amount of loss.
Each party will:
1. Pay its own appraiser; and
2. Bear the other expenses of the appraisal and umpire
(D.E. 3-1 (emphases added).) In a letter dated March 11,
2019, the Defendant notified Plaintiffs counsel that the
Defendant was "invok[ing] the appraisal provision of
[the Plaintiffs] policy." (D.E. 3-3 at 1.) Eight days
later, the Defendant moved the Court to compel appraisal and
to abate this action pending completion of appraisal.
(See D.E. 3 at 6-7.)
opposes the Defendant's request for appraisal, arguing
the Defendant waived its right to appraisal by failing to
invoke the provision at any point between July 2018-when the
Defendant first received "actual knowledge" of a
"significant disagreement between the parties as to the
amount of loss"-and March 2019, when the Defendant finally
invoked the provision.