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Rodriguez v. Avatar Property & Casualty Insurance Co.

Florida Court of Appeals, Second District

January 15, 2020

MARIA RODRIGUEZ, Appellant,
v.
AVATAR PROPERTY & CASUALTY INSURANCE COMPANY, Appellee.

         NOT FINAL UNTIL TIME EXPIRES TO FILE REHEARING MOTION AND, IF FILED, DETERMINED

          Appeal from the Circuit Court for Hillsborough County; Emmett Lamar Battles, Judge.

          Melissa A. Giasi of Sivyer Barlow & Watson, P.A., Tampa; and Gregory Saldamando of The Strems Law Firm, Coral Gables, for Appellant.

          Mihaela Cabulea and Anthony J. Russo of Butler Weihmuller Katz Craig LLP, Tampa, for Appellee.

          CASANUEVA, Judge.

         Maria Rodriguez appeals the final summary judgment entered in favor of Avatar Property and Casualty Insurance Company. Ms. Rodriguez filed a complaint against Avatar alleging that it breached the parties' contract of insurance. Avatar filed two motions for summary judgment, one asserting that Ms. Rodriguez breached her obligations under the insurance contract and the other based on a claim of fraud. The trial court entered final summary judgment on both grounds. We reverse.

         I. FACTS

         Ms. Rodriguez purchased an insurance policy from Avatar, effective December 14, 2015, through December 14, 2016, for a home located in Tampa, Florida. The operative pleading in this case is Ms. Rodriguez's breach of contract complaint. As of the time of the entry of the final summary judgment, Avatar had not filed an answer.

         The complaint alleges that Ms. Rodriguez made a claim for a loss caused by a water discharge in a bathroom occurring on April 13, 2016. The complaint alleges that the loss is covered by the homeowner's policy and that Avatar breached the contract by denying coverage.

         Avatar responded by filing two separate motions for summary judgment alleging that Ms. Rodriguez failed to satisfy certain post-loss contractual obligations and that her claim was fraudulent. The trial court granted both motions and entered final summary judgment in favor of Avatar. This appeal ensued.

         Relevant Policy Provisions

         Under Section I of the policy, paragraph two of the "Conditions" identifies certain duties imposed upon Ms. Rodriguez in case of a loss. Pertinent to the instant case, paragraph two states:

In case of loss to a covered property, you must see that all of the following are done:
a. Give prompt notice to us or our agent;
. . . .
f. As often as we reasonably ...

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