Insured's Experts Excluded, But Insurer's Motion for Summary Judgment Denied

Denied in red

Hurricane Matthew damaged the Greater Hall Temple Church of God's (Church) roof.

October 26, 2020
Tred R. Eyerly - Insurance Law Hawaii

Despite barring the insured's expert witnesses from testifying as to the cause of the loss, lay witnesses were still available, making the district court's award of summary judgment to the insurer improper. Greater Hall Temple Church of God v. Southern Mut. Church Ins. Co., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 21934 (11th Cir. July 15, 2020).

Hurricane Matthew damaged the Greater Hall Temple Church of God's (Church) roof. Leaks occurred, causing water damage to the Church's interior. A claim was submitted to Southern Mutual. The policy did not cover loss caused by water. Nor did it cover loss to the interior of buildings unless the rain entered through openings made by a specified peril. An independent adjuster found that the damage was caused not by wind, but by pre-exisiting structural issues. Southern Mutual denied the claim.

The Church filed suit. Southern Mutual moved for summary judgment and also moved to strike three of the Church's expert witnesses. The district court agreed that none of the witnesses could qualify as experts. Two of the witnesses did not have the requisite experience nor had they used a sufficiently reliable methodology formulating their opinions. A third expert was barred because his expert opinion had not been timely disclosed. Thereafter, Southern Mutual's motion for summary judgment was granted because the Church had not provided admissible evidence that damage to the Church's roof was caused by Hurricane Matthew.

Mr. Eyerly may be contacted at te@hawaiilawyer.com



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