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

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

November 7, 2019

GREY OAKS COUNTRY CLUB, INC., Plaintiff,
v.
ZURICH AMERICAN INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          JOHN E. STEELE SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This matter comes before the Court on defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. #77), plaintiff's Response in Opposition (Doc. #90), and defendant's Reply (Doc. #94). For the reasons set forth below, the Motion is denied.

         I.

         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 (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 now moves for summary judgment in its favor, raising one argument - that Grey Oaks cannot establish the damages element of their breach of contract claim because Zurich has already paid Grey Oaks all that it is due under the Policy, as admitted by Grey Oaks in interrogatory responses. Grey Oaks states that those amounts were only a snapshot of Grey Oaks' damages and summary judgment is premature because discovery remains open until November 18, 2019.

         The undisputed material facts are as follows: Zurich American issued commercial insurance policy no. CPO 2881188-11 (10/1/16-10/1/17) (the “Policy”) to Grey Oaks. The Policy provides first-party coverage for Grey Oaks' country club property.

         After sustaining a loss on or about September 10, 2017 due to Hurricane Irma, Grey Oaks reported the loss to Zurich. Zurich investigated and adjusted the claim and, prior to the filing of this lawsuit, issued insurance proceeds to Grey Oaks totaling $3, 971, 016.49. (Doc. #77-2, ¶¶ 6-12 Affidavit of Patrick Sheridan.) Grey Oaks seeks damages under four separate coverages in the Policy: (1) Golf Course Outdoor Grounds; (2) Real and Personal Property; (3) Debris Removal; and (4) Expense to Reduce Loss. (Doc. #77-3, p. 6.)

         In Response to Interrogatory No. 8[1] dated June 18, 2019 (Doc.#77-3), Grey Oaks identifies the various categories of damages it is seeking under each of these coverages. Grey Oaks' response to Interrogatory No. 8 reads as follows:

Grey Oaks intends to prove the following damages under four coverages within the Policy: (1) Golf Course Outdoor Grounds Coverage, (2) the Real and Personal Property Coverage Form, (3) the Debris Removal Coverage, and (4) the Business Income Coverage/Expense to Reduce Loss. The breakdown by coverage is as follows, though certain damages may fall within more than one coverage:
GOLF COURSE OUTDOOR GROUNDS COVERAGE[2]
(1) Golf Course Work: $533, 392.00
(2) Damaged Tree Removal: $3, 687, 292.78
(3) Irrigation and Path Repairs:2 $282, 811.61
(4) Debris Hauling:3 $404, 295.94
(5) Fuel:4 $19, 069.21
(6) Stump Removal: $334, 036.32
(7) General Labor:5 $316, ...

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