Challenging a new Florida statute passed at special session less than a week earlier, CCL contended that a statute that home-repair contractors who receive assignments of benefits from a homeowner insurance policy cannot be treated less favorably than the homeowner and thus violates the Florida Constitution.

     Florida legislators targeted assignees in response to pleas from the insurance industry that property insurers were paying too much after wrongfully denying insurance benefits and then being successfully sued for clams that the insurers promised to pay after receiving premiums to assure coverage. Under the statute, a homeowner who receives covered repair and remediation services may sue for wrongfully denied benefits and receive attorney fees, but when the insurance proceeds are assigned to a contractor, a common occurrence, the assignee is not entitled to attorney fees for a successful lawsuit. The provision has the practical effect of making such lawsuits too expensive to bring for denials that can average $3500, thereby creating a perverse incentive for insurers to deny coverage and obtain a windfall.

     The lawsuit argues that the provision violates the Florida Constitution's single-subject restriction on legislation, its access to courts guarantee, equal protection, and due process. CCL is co-counsel in the case with the Boca Raton law firm of Shapiro, Blasi, Wasserman & Hermann.