PBCBA BAR BULLETINS pbcba_bulletin_May 2019 - Page 21

The Fourth District also concluded that there was negligence on the part of the insured because he had not provided a statement despite having the assistance of private legal counsel for several days before suit was filed. The Fourth District seemingly ignored the fact that Harvey was not aware of the plaintiff’s desire to take this statement but in any regard the Supreme Court makes it clear that there is no law in Florida creating a comparative negligence standard with respect to an insured’s obligation and that the focus is on whether the insurer acted in good faith in handling the negotiations and the eventual defense of the claim. The Supreme Court stated in Berges, supra, To the extent this four/three decision survives the change in personnel in the Supreme Court this case establishes the high burden an insurer has in handling a significant claim on behalf of its insured and is a primer on the law of bad faith insurance in Florida. NOTE: BECAUSE A NUMBER OF PEOPLE HAVE REQUESTED COPIES OF PAST ARTICLES, A COMPILATION OF THESE ARTICLES IS NOW AVAILABLE TO MEMBERS OF THE PALM BEACH COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION, FREE OF CHARGE, BY CALLING (561) 684-2500. The focus in a bad faith case is not on the actions of the claimant but rather on those of the insurer in fulfilling its obligations to the insured. 896 So. 2d at 677. This is because, as the insured, Harvey “surrendered to the insurer all control over the handling of the claim.” Boston Old Colony, 386 So. 2d at 785. PALMBEACHBAR.ORG 21