Florida District Court Holds 5-year Statute of Limitations Tolled for 10 Business Days in Hurricane Irma Claim
By Michael H. Scott
In Arlen House Condo. Ass’n, Inc. v. Rockhill Ins. Co., the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida denied the Defendant Insurer’s Motion to Dismiss the Plaintiff Insured’s Complaint following the Defendant’s argument that the Plaintiff’s claim was time-barred by the five-year statute of limitations in Fla. Stat. § 95.11, based on Plaintiff’s allegation that the loss occurred on September 10, 2017, wherein the Plaintiffs filed their state court action on September 22, 2022, 5 years and 12 days after Hurricane Irma.
Although the five-year statute of limitations period for the Plaintiff’s September 10, 2017 Hurricane Irma claim pursuant to Fla. Stat. § 95.11 would have ended on September 12, 2022 (because the end of the limitations period fell on a Saturday, September 10, 2022), the Court held that Fla. Stat. § 627.70152(3)(b), which went into effect on July 1, 2021, applies retroactively to insurance policies issued before enactment of the statute. The Court held that the statute tolled the time limits in Fla. Stat. § 95.11 for ten business days where such time limits will expire before the end of the ten-day period.
Following the Court’s retroactive application of Fla. Stat. § 627.70152(3)(b), the Court held that the Plaintiff’s Complaint, filed in state court on September 22, 2022 after the Plaintiff’s compliance with the pre-suit notice statute, was not time-barred under Fla. Stat. § 95.11 due to the tolling of the statute. Accordingly, the Southern District Court denied the Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss the Plaintiff’s Complaint for failure to comply with the statute of limitations.