In almost all litigation, the depositions of the individual parties are important. Often cases rise and fall based solely on this testimony. For associations, however, the party is an organization and not a person. It is therefore necessary for the association to select an individual, or group of individuals, to speak on its behalf as the corporate representative.Continue Reading Selecting A Corporate Representative For Deposition

We live in a digital age, where information is stored and transmitted electronically, often with little regard to the science and technology that makes it possible. Digital information is much different than traditional hard copy, print, or other physical information. Electricity, magnetic disks, and fiber optics allow information to be created, modified, transferred, and destroyed in an instant.Continue Reading Court Orders Forensic Examination of Association’s Computer Systems

While relying on its investigation to make determinations as to coverage and the amount of damages after a loss has occurred, insurance companies often take the position that their claims handling processes, general business practices, and financial incentives to delay, underestimate, and/or deny claims are not relevant or discoverable in litigation over breaches of the insurance contract. While some courts have bought in to this proposition, the tides are turning as more and more judges are seeing the disingenuousness of the argument.Continue Reading Claims Handling and General Business Practices Deemed Discoverable in First Party Breach of Contract Case

Reinsurance is insurance for insurance companies. Often, insurers will write large policies to condominium and homeowner associations with limits well in excess of the amounts the carrier would be willing to pay if a total loss occurred. Instead of passing on the opportunity to write the policy, insurers typically lay off a portion of the potential liability to reinsurers. By spreading the risk, insurers can limit the amounts payable from their own coffers in the event of a large scale loss.Continue Reading Reinsurance Information Can Play an Important Role for Associations

On September 12, 2011, in Customary Discovery Practices May Vary Greatly Between Federal And State Courts, I discussed how the Federal Middle District Court of Florida resolved a discovery dispute between Nationwide and Pepperwood of Naples Condominium Association. Recently, the Court decided another discovery dispute between the parties. This one involved Nationwide’s claim of attorney-client privilege and work product protection to some document requests. Such claims of privilege are common in litigation. The resolution of these disputes can play a very important role in the information that the policyholder can obtain to support its claims, especially in a bad faith case.Continue Reading Federal Middle District Court Of Florida Orders Nationwide To Produce Documents It Withheld Under The Attorney-Client Privilege And Work Product Protection

"Custom in law is the established pattern of behavior that can be objectively verified within a particular social setting.” Wikipedia. Recently, the Federal Middle District Court in Florida decided a discovery dispute between a condominium association and its insurer, Nationwide, in the case Pepperwood of Naples Condo. Ass’n., Inc. v. Nationwide Mut. Fire Ins. Co., No. 2:10-cv-753, 2011 WL 3841557 (M.D. Fla. August 28, 2011). Discovery disputes arise when one party asks another to produce information, but the other party coes not comply. It is common for insurers to refuse to produce claim file materials, claiming the documents are protected by certain privileges and citing other objections. The Pepperwood case involved a situation where the condominium association sued Nationwide for bad faith damages for not promptly paying all insurance proceeds from the 2004 hurricane damages and forcing it to incur additional expenses in the claim presentation through an appraisal process.Continue Reading Customary Discovery Practices May Vary Greatly Between Federal And State Courts