Ordinary Use of Term In Insurance Policy Prevailed

Pen resting on insurance policy

Attorney David Adelstein analyzes Robinson v. Liberty Mutual Ins. Co.

June 8, 2020
David Adelstein - Florida Construction Legal Updates

There are cases where you feel for the plaintiff, but understand why they did not prevail, despite the creative efforts of their counsel. The case of Robinson v. Liberty Mutual Ins. Co., 958 F.3d 1137 (11th Cir. 2020) is one of these cases.

In Robinson, the plaintiff moved into a home that turned out to be infested with a highly venomous spider. Efforts to eradicate the spider proved unsuccessful and the spider apparently infested the entire home. The plaintiff made a claim under their homeowner’s property insurance policy arguing that their home suffered a physical loss caused by the spider infestation as the spider presented an irreparable condition that rendered the home unsafe for occupancy. (It probably did!). The property insurer denied coverage because the policy had an insurance exclusion for loss caused by birds, vermin, rodents, or insects.

The insurer claimed the spider is an insect or vermin and, therefore, there is no coverage based on the exclusion. The insured creatively argued that “scientifically speaking” a spider is an arachnid and not an insect. Neither the trial court nor the Eleventh Circuit found this argument persuasive.

Mr. Adelstein may be contacted at dma@kirwinnorris.com



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