The Georgia Bulldog’s repeat National Championship has nothing on the Atlanta office of WSHB! Since December 1st, our superstar Atlanta team has secured five Motion for Summary Judgment rulings. Take a closer look at what's happening in the Peach State.

USIC v. Jockey Club – Atlanta office managing partner Richard Zelonka and partner Molly Moyer, secured summary judgment for our client in a declaratory judgment action wherein the Court found that the insurer owed no duty to defend or indemnify Jockey Club in a construction defect case in South Florida. The Atlanta team helped the client successfully prove that Jockey Club knew about the damage prior to the policy’s inception, and that the prior knowledge precluded coverage. As a result, the client is entitled to recover all fees and expenses it incurred in defending Jockey Club in the underlying lawsuit initiated by Jockey Club’s other insurers.

Izquierdo v. Underwriters Colleen McCaffrey, managing partner of the firm's Alabama office and a partner in Atlanta, along with senior counsel Joe Aguirre, won summary judgment in a multi-year “rock fight” stemming from a Hurricane Irma case. Initially, WSHB secured summary judgment in 2020, but it was overturned by the 11th Circuit. However, upon remand and further discovery, the WSHB power duo won summary judgment for a second time. The case involved a suit filed by homeowners who sought costs to replace the entire roof on their home with upgraded materials, despite only nominal damage to their roof during the storm. Even more, under the Policy, the homeowners were limited to the actual cash value of the damaged property. Due to the fact that they could not produce evidence or justification for their requested costs pursuant to the policy in place, the Court granted summary judgment to our client. This was an important win because the Court’s order enforced the policy’s valuation provisions, which helped ensure that our client's policies are protected by the four corners of the agreement and only must pay amounts they agreed to insure.

Mr. Juaris v. Atain – Richard Zelonka and senior counsel Jeff Rowe obtained summary judgment in another long-running Hurricane Irma dispute. In a ruling from the bench, the Court granted the summary judgment motion and held that the Plaintiff could not meet its burden of proof in showing that claimed damages were covered under the Policy. In particular, the Court agreed with the insurer and found that the Plaintiff provided no evidence of a covered peril that required it to shutter its doors for months after the storm, and in fact, that the damages claimed were caused by an excluded offsite power loss. The Court rejected the Plaintiff's argument that the claims fell within exceptions to the Policy’s Offsite Power and Windstorm Exclusions.

Predelus v. Atain – Richard Zelonka and Jeff Rowe again secured summary judgment for the client in a case arising out of an alleged pipe loss at the insured’s apartment complex. WSHB successfully argued that the Plaintiff did not provide sufficient expert testimony to meet his burden of proof and failed to show the actual cash value of the claimed damages. The Court agreed and found that because the Plaintiff presented no evidence to demonstrate the damages claimed, WSHB's client was entitled to summary judgment. Notably, the client served a proposal for settlement early on for $5,000, which was rejected and now may seek nearly $50,000 in fee reimbursements.

Wegman v. Catskill Builders – Partner Jenna Fowler obtained summary judgment in a residential construction defect case in state court in Savannah, Georgia. Jenna represented a contractor and its qualifying agent in a case brought by a subsequent purchaser of the home. The Court granted summary judgment based on Georgia’s acceptance doctrine and found that Plaintiff could not prove any of its negligence claims against our clients. We served an early Offer of Judgment for a nominal amount, so the client is likely to recoup significant defense costs.

Congratulations to the WSHB Atlanta office for their excellent work on behalf of our clients!

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