White Eagle Prop. Grp., LLC v. Amrisc, LLC, No. 619CV335ORL31DCI, 2019 WL 2337005 (M.D. Fla. June 3, 2019)

This matter involved the arbitration of a claim for alleged damage to a residential rental complex in Winter Springs, Florida caused by Hurricane Irma.  The plaintiff and the insurers disagreed as to the value of the loss, with the market’s engineer opining that the great majority of the damage to the buildings existed prior to Hurricane Irma and that any water intrusion was caused by improper construction techniques and/or deferred maintenance. While the market offered approximately $2 million for the loss, the insured sought approximately $24 million and filed an action in state court.

The insurers removed the action to federal court and sought arbitration. Plaintiff, who also filed a motion for remand, opposed on the basis that there was no agreement in writing as required by the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Arbitration Awards. The federal court denied the insured’s motion to remand the case, holding that the “insurance contract contains an express agreement to arbitrate, which the [insured] cannot disavow simply because it did not sign a document to which it was bound and that it was not required to sign.” Following the submission of additional briefing requested by the court, the judge denied as moot the market’s motion to compel arbitration and ordered the parties to provide regular status reports regarding the arbitration.

The market of insurers was represented by partners William D. Wilson and Brian M. McKell and associate Brooke D. Turetzky.