In its brief, the U.S. Chamber argued that under Florida law, an insurer’s liability for breach of contract—and not merely its coverage obligation—must be determined before an insured can bring a bad faith action. The brief argued that well-established Florida precedent requires a breach of the parties’ contract as an essential prerequisite to any claim for breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, which the Legislature applied to insurance contracts by enacting Florida’s bad faith statute.
The brief further argued that removing the breach of contract requirement would necessarily impose additional costs on insurers by requiring them to respond to and litigate meritless bad faith claims. At a minimum, insurers may be forced to enter into settlements that would not otherwise be warranted simply to avoid the risks and expense of litigation. The costs of such settlements will ultimately be passed on to consumers, increasing premiums, decreasing the availability of insurance, and harming Florida’s insurance market and its citizens.
David B. Weinstein and Jonathan S. Tannen of Greenberg Traurig, LLP served as co-counsel for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on behalf of the U.S. Chamber Litigation Center.