April 11, 2022
The ability to make a recovery is directly tied to how efficiently and effectively the subrogation process is handled on a new loss. If the proper steps are not taken, it is very likely that any chance of a subrogation recovery will be lost.
March 28, 2022
A bill is advancing through the Florida Legislature which proposes to place onerous requirements on apartment complex landlords to protect tenants from the threat of violence posed by employees with criminal histories.
January 31, 2022
Many, if not all, Uniform Trial Orders include a mediation requirement. Increasingly, some judges have also been uniformly ordering cases to non-binding arbitration as an alternative method of resolution. Non-binding arbitration can be both a blessing and a nuisance.
January 18, 2022
This action arose out of the construction of four townhomes in Bay Harbor Islands (the “Project”). The Owner/Developer entered a Prime Contract with the General Contractor, who subsequently entered various contracts with numerous Subcontractors, including the Client.
January 17, 2022
Arbitration Forums, Inc. (“AF”) was founded in 1943 and is a membership-driven, not-for-profit organization. Many insurers are signatories to agreements that provide for arbitration. This means that the insurers agree to submit any applicable claim that may arise between them to AF and agree to forego litigation.
December 28, 2021
It may sound dubious to think that in the world of civil litigation one can find ways to give back to the community, but hopefully I can provide some helpful insights for other legal professionals who feel a desire to engage, participate and give back to their community by using our unique legal education.
By way of background, I litigate subrogation cases often involving business disputes related to torts, contractual issues, and product defects, which I recognize does not exactly fall under the umbrella of public service. And while I find subrogation work rewarding in its own right, it does not allow me to reach my immediate community on a personal level. Early on in my career, I knew I loved the world of subrogation, but I also knew I wanted to give back. To gain a greater sense of community involvement, upon admission to the bar, I immediately became involved in my local bar associations. In doing so, I found my “home” with the Palm Beach County Bar Association’s Law Related Education Committee and the Lawyers for Literacy Committee. I have also enjoyed remaining an appointed member of the Florida Bar’s Law Related Education Committee since 2019. It is through this simple first step that a wellspring of fulfillment has opened for me.
If I could give advice to any newly barred attorney, it would be to get involved with their local bar associations. These committees have opened endless opportunities for me to speak with groups of children, groups of adults, groups who speak English as a second language, and much more. Some of my favorite events have included participation in #readfortherecord, Life Literacy presentations, and the Florida Bar’s Benchmarks civics education outreach program. The Florida Bar’s Benchmarks program is a curriculum designed to educate adults in the community about civics. Through these programs I have presented to rotary clubs, assisted living facilities, and women’s groups on topics such as the constitution, the structure of the judicial branch, and voting. I especially love these presentations because it gives adults access to education that they otherwise would not receive. I truly believe that if you want to improve a community, one thing you can do is empower its members with knowledge. Even if public speaking is not your thing, there are other ways to contribute. For instance, the Florida Legal Survival Guide for young adults is a great resource administered by the Florida Bar’s Law Related Education Committee. The members of this Committee work to update this guide that serves as a resource for teenagers entering adulthood on a myriad of issues such as employment, housing, and driving laws.
Volunteering with these groups has also shown me what a joy it is to interact with children ranging from kindergarten age all the way up to teenagers. Because the legal system affects so many facets of life, there are a multitude of topics to connect with children on. Another event that I have participated in is Literacy Day, where we read children’s books to elementary school students about the “ABC’s of Law” and the United States Supreme Court Justices. At the end, each child gets to take home a pocket-sized copy of the United States Constitution. Even when an event such as this one involves a “story time,” the students always have great questions which leads to engaging discussions. Seeing children process these legal concepts and then follow up with questions is fascinating. Many times, the children I have interacted with have not been exposed to women in the legal profession, or instances where someone is first in their family to obtain a post-graduate degree. Helping them learn a new legal concept and open their minds to the reality that their upbringing does not define their potential has been incredibly fulfilling. In case I have not yet made the case to go out and get involved, I should mention the added bonus for any lawyer of the presentation and public speaking practice that comes along with participating in these events.
Derrevere Stevens Black and Cozad has consistently remained committed to its community outreach efforts. The firm previously participated in collecting donations for the annual Books and Bears drive. This program ensures that on National Adoption Day, each adopted child receives a book and a stuffed animal friend to keep as they join their forever families. Members of the firm also sign up annually to purchase holiday gifts for children in the Avanna Healthcare program, and this year the firm will be contributing to the Palm Beach County Salvation Army’s Angel Tree Program to provide holiday gifts for children in need.
As the newly appointed chair for Derrevere Stevens Black & Cozad’s Community Give Back Committee, I am grateful to work in a place where philanthropy is prioritized and where my volunteering is supported. As the firm continues to grow, I am excited to see how we will positively impact the community now that we are physically present in multiple states and can reach beyond South Florida. There is so much that we, as legal professionals, can do to give back even when we do not work in the public sector. During this season of giving and gratefulness, I find myself reflecting on the many blessings I have. When people ask me why I love to volunteer through these programs, the answer is simple: we have so much. If we want to make the world a better place, we must give of ourselves.
November 22, 2021
Subrogating a claim with diverse parties and over $75,000 in controversy – going to federal court right? “Not so fast!” as the inimitable Lee Corso would say. While federal jurisdiction may not affect your case’s merits or deter your filing of a given case – if you or your clients prefer to file in state court, you still may have an option.
The key lies in whether your client is a reciprocal exchange as opposed to a traditional insurance company. Unlike conventional insurance companies, which are either owned by shareholders for stock companies or policyholders for mutual companies, reciprocal insurance companies are owned by its subscribers or “members”. A reciprocal insurance exchange is a “web of contractual relationships” whereby several persons, corporations, partnerships, acting through a common attorney, undertake to insure each other against certain kinds of losses by means of a mutual exchange of insurance contracts. Arbuthnot v. State Auto. Ins., Ass’n., 264 F. 2d 260 (10th Cir. 1959). They insure each other, in a reciprocal arrangement, by exchanging indemnity contracts among themselves. In this type of exchange, each policyholder covers the others, pooling together resources if a subscriber faces perils. The effective and practical results of a reciprocal exchange place the members as both the insurer and the insureds. 94 A.l.R. 836; 131 A.l.R. 765; 145 A.L.R. 1121; Abuthnot v. State Auto Ins. Ass’n., 264 F. 2d 260 (10th Cir. 1959).
Reciprocal insurance exchanges got their start in 1881 when six dry-good merchants in New York agreed to indemnify each other because of their shared discontent with insurance companies.
This group’s members all had buildings of superior construction and maintained them well, but they were all charged premiums that did not correspond to the potential losses for similar commercial buildings.
At the time, insurance companies applied broad strokes in their classification of risk; modern rate-setting techniques hadn’t quite been developed yet. Able to absorb certain losses, the merchants had the incentive and ability to “self-insure” to lower their costs.
Examples of reciprocal exchanges or “reciprocal inter-insurance exchanges” include:
- AAA (American Automobile Insurance Association)
- Erie Insurance Group • PURE Insurance
- USAA (United Services Automobile Association)
It is typical for a prospective Defendant to move for Removal to federal jurisdiction when the case in controversy exceeds $75,000 and ostensibly includes diverse parties. With reciprocal exchanges, however, the diversity requirement can simply and effectively be countered – and the case Remanded back to state court – by arguing that the reciprocal exchange has customers in all or virtually all jurisdictions, and complete diversity cannot exist with the Plaintiff’s corporate structure. Dasilva at 397. See James River Ins. Co. v. AIG Propr. Cas. Co., Privilege Underwriters Reciprocal, Exchange Inc., a/s/o Joesph Insalaco, and Molly O’Neill, 2016 WL 8783213 (S.D. Fla. 2016 (granting defendants’ motions to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction for diversity jurisdiction because PURE, an indispensable party, is an unincorporated association with members in Ohio, and therefore is deemed a citizen of the State of Ohio, which is the same state of citizenship of the Plaintiff). If complete diversity of citizenship cannot be established between the parties then Removal cannot be sustained a Motion to Remand should be granted.
So cancel that hotel reservation and get some extra rest, because if your subrogation claim being Removed to federal jurisdiction involves a reciprocal exchange, you can lay your weary head on decades of comfortable case precedent and Remand this case back home where it belongs. Helpful Precedent for Remanding Reciprocal Exchange Cases Back to State Court:
- Arbuthnot v. State Auto. Ins., Ass’n., 264 F. 2d 260 (10th Cir. 1959)
- True v. Robles, 571 F. 3d 412 (5th Cir. 2009)
- Tran. v. Farmers, 104 Cal. App. 4th 1202 (2012)
- Tuck v. United Servs. Auto. Ass’n, 859 F. 2d 842 (10th Cir. 1988)
- James River Ins. Co. v. Farmers Ins. Exchange, 2012 WL 1190886 (D. Ariz. 2012)
November 11, 2021
Here ye! Here ye! Calling all lovers of humans! Calling all haters of cancer! The “No Shave November” Committee of the Palm Beach County Bar Association Young Lawyer Section is holding its annual “No Shave November” event to raise money for a charity – Cancer Alliance of Help & Hope – and we want your help!
CAHH is a local, non-profit organization that provides financial assistance to those in Palm Beach County who are suffering from terminal cancer and/or who are undergoing cancer treatment. Each Fall, the Committee sets up a group of men – “Headliners” – each of whom voluntarily agree to not shave their beards during the entire month of November and seek donations throughout the month to help financially support local men who are battling the dreaded “c”. None of the funds raised by the Headliners go to any overhead costs for the event or towards any other organizational costs. 100% of the money raised by the Headliners goes exactly where it needs to go – to support those men in our community who need it the most.
At the end of November, the fundraiser culminates in an amazing, one-of-a-kind, in-person event where each of the Headliners has their beard shaved off by the talented barbers of Barber’s Edge, LIVE in front of hundreds of attendees and the Committee reveals how much was raised by the Headliners for CAHH. The Headliner who raises the most in donations wins a hot shave with a straight-edge razor. At the last event, over $50,000 was raised for some unfortunate, but very deserving, individuals and winning Headliner Cameron Neth left with a remarkably clean shave. We hope to crush that amount this year – and can do so with your help!
Our esteemed Headliners this year include: Jack Scarola, Ryan Boylston, Paul Shalhoub, Sean Denyse, Neil Schiller, Stanton Collemer, Trent Swift, Dean Xenick, Bobby Gonz, David Zide, Stephen Grant, Jeff Johnson and Corey Brown. If you happen to see any of these gentlemen in the near future, please commend them on their fantastic facial hair and, more importantly, their valiant effort of stepping up to help others in need and growing awareness for men’s cancer issues.
This year’s in-person event will be at the Palm Beach Gardens Marriott (4400 RCA Boulevard, Palm Beach Gardens, FL) on November 30, starting at 5:30pm. In addition to the live shave-off, the event will also include a silent raffle for various items (raffle tickets are available for purchase; proceeds go to CAHH), while drink tickets can be purchased and hors-d’oeuvres will be provided to attendees. In the past, items such as Salvador Dali artwork, Miami Dolphins game tickets, rounds of golf at PGA National and gift certificates to spas have been raffled off.
Derrevere Stevens Black & Cozad is proudly serving as a food sponsor for the event this year and DSB&C’s very own David Miller serves on the “No Shave November” Committee. Event sponsorship opportunities are still available for purchase. Each sponsorship level comes with varying types of marketing/advertisement opportunities and various amounts of drink tickets and raffle tickets (the bigger the sponsorship level, the more marketing/advertisement opportunities and the more drink and raffle tickets). If you are interested in sponsoring the event, please reach out to David Miller at 561.684.3222 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Even though David is not a headliner this year, he has voluntarily agreed to grow out his beard and get shaved at the event to raise more funds for CAHH. David has been growing a beard for several months now. It is to the point that most barely recognize him. At the event, the Committee will auction David off to the highest bidder, who will get to choose a style for the barbers to shave David’s beard, and David has agreed to wear that style all day on the day after the event. There is a caveat though – nothing offensive. Last time David was brave enough to do this, Sam Cohen could not pass up the opportunity to bid. Sam won the auction, David left the event with muttonchops and a Fu Manchu, and everyone who saw David the day after got to hear about the wonderful reason why he looked like…. well, here are the before and after photos:
Sponsorship aside, everyone is encouraged and welcome to support this cause, so come attend the event. Better yet, donate to one (or more) of the headliners and purchase raffle tickets – every cent you spend goes directly to keep a roof over someone’s head, food in their fridge and the lights on at home while they put up the good fight!
October 25, 2021
Derrevere Stevens Black & Cozad Hires Partner Meghan Wilson to Spearhead its First-Party Insurance Defense Division
October 25, 2021 – (West Palm Beach, Florida) —- Derrevere Stevens Black & Cozad (“DSB&C”) announced today that it has brought on Meghan Wilson, Esq. as a Partner to take over the helm of DSB&C’s First-Party Defense Division. Meghan was admitted to the Florida Bar in 2007 and has since focused her practice almost exclusively in the areas of insurance defense, commercial and residential contracts, and bad-faith litigation. She has represented numerous insurance companies in various stages – from pre-suit investigations, conducting examinations under oath, and providing coverage opinions, through litigation and trial. A lifelong Floridian, Meghan is a double Gator, having obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree in English and her Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Florida. Outside of work, Meghan enjoys watching episodes of “Bluey” with her niece, going to the movies, and cooking.
September 30, 2021
In Urena v. Target Corp., Plaintiffs, as parents and natural guardians of their minor child, claimed their daughter sustained physical injuries when she struck an end cap in Target’s Palm Beach Lakes store while shopping with her mother and grandmother.