Middle District of Florida Decision Showcases Importance of Line-item Appraisal Award Forms
By Douglas M. Cohen
In Pustilnik v. Scottsdale Ins. Co., No. 2:23-cv-377-JLB-KCD, 2023 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 103633 (M.D. Fla. June 14, 2023), there was an insurance dispute regarding the cost to repair the property stemming from Hurricane Ian. Although the parties did not cite to language in the policy that requires specific award forms, they agreed that the appraisers will utilize a line-item award form. The Court noted that prior cases, including but not limited to, Evanston Ins. Co. v. Etcetera Etc, Inc., No. 2:18-cv-103-FtM-99MRM, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 122154 (M.D. Fla. July 23, 2018) that when agreed to, a detailed line item appraisal form has been found to streamline the litigation process because when an appraiser assigns value for a particular type of damage, it allows the Court to more easily assess coverage disputes. In Putstilnik, the Court entered an award granting the use of a line-item award form.
Insurers and Insureds, especially when appraising Hurricane Ian claims where there may be wind and flood damage, should consider the use of line-item appraisal award forms to reduce litigation on appraisal awards as it appears allowable, and even favored by the Middle District Court of Florida.