Skip to main content


Showing posts from October, 2012

Insurer Wins Dec Judgment Action in 5th Circuit on Indemnity Provisions in Contract

In Ace American Ins. Co. v. M-I, L.L.C., Case No. 12-20080, (5th Cir. Oct. 19, 2012), the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the district court's grant of partial summary judgment on behalf of an insurer, finding that the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act ("OCSLA"), 43 U.S.C. 1333(a), applied to the parties' contractual dispute. As a result, the court found that pursuant to the OCSLA choice of law provision, Louisiana law applied, under which the Louisiana Oilfield Indemnity Act ("LOIA"), La. Rev. Stat. 9:2780(B), invalidated the indemnity provisions.

The dispute concerned a Master Service Agreement ("MSA") between BP and a service company. Contained within the MSA was an indemnification provision, which contained an insurance agreement supporting the service company's indemnification obligations. An employee of the service company was injured, sued BP and the service company, BP tendered the employee's claims to the service company, w…

Speaking Engagement: Fort Lauderdale Boat Show 2012

I am speaking this Wednesday at the Fort Lauderdale Mariners Club seminar dubbed "the most important seminar for insurance agents, brokers, underwriters, surveyors, admiralty attorneys and marine industry professionals" in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on the the topic of The Rules of the Game from the Legal Perspective. This topic relates to the rules and regulations for passenger ships. The agenda for the conference can be found here =>

If you are interested in this topic and have never been to this seminar, it is a well-known conference held every year as a "kick-off" to the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show. If you have any questions regarding this seminar or are interested in receiving the outline for my presentation, please feel free to contact me at

Florida Mediation Rules Require Physical Presence of Full Decision Makers of Both an Insured Party and Its Insurance Representative

In order for a case to proceed to trial in Florida, mediation between the parties must be had. I am routinely asked whether a party is required to attend mediation in Florida or whether the mediation rule is permissive, meaning that a party can send a replacement or party representative to attend on the party's behalf. Of course, this is important in maritime cases where the parties can hail from all over the world and it seems to some outside of this jurisdiction to be onerous to have to physically attend mediation.
On January 1, 2012, Florida’s Rules of Civil Procedure regarding mediation required each party to file a notice 10 days before the mediation identifying who will physically attend on behalf of each party. Pursuant to amendments to Rule 1.720, an insured defendant must identify the party representative of the defendant and the insurance representative of the defendant who will physically attend the mediation. The amendments also require the defendant’s attorney to cer…

Insured Can Pursue Bad Faith After Favorable Appraisal Award

In Trafalgar at Greenacres, Ltd. v. Zurich American Insurance Company, No. 4D11-1376, 2012 WL 3822215, *1 (Fla. 4th DCA Sept. 5, 2012), the Florida Fourth District Court of Appeal, applying Florida law, overturned the trial court’s summary judgment order and held that an appraisal award pursuant to an insurance contract can constitute a “favorable resolution” of an underlying breach of contract dispute for purposes of filing a bad faith cause of action.

In this breach of contract case, a policyholder who suffered property damage from Hurricane Katrina alleged that the insurer failed to pay all proceeds due from the related claim.  In response, the insurer invoked the policy’s appraisal provision. An appraisal award was entered in the policyholder’s favor and the insurer paid it within the required time frame.

When the insurer moved for summary judgment on the breach of contract claim, the trial court granted the motion, but also granted the policyholder’s motion to amend …

Is a Houseboat a House or a Vessel?

The Daily Business Review lays out the story of Fane Lozman, the man who owned a houseboat, floating home or other item that floated off the Rivera Beach that the U.S. Supreme Court has now heard oral argument on. This case was debated during a recent meeting of the Florida Bar Admiralty and Maritime Law Committee on September 20th. As background as laid out by the DBR, Lozman made a boatload of money off the tech bubble and decided to live the good life on a houseboat at a Riviera Beach marina. The city, though, had a $2.4 million redevelopment plan for the public marina with its easy access to the ocean. Lozman stood in the city's way and was determined to fight the city's use of eminent domain. Riviera Beach turned to federal maritime law to evict Lozman after he succeeded in state court, arguing he was being retaliated against for speaking out against the redevelopment plan.
Now the former Chicago financial trader is a cause celebre for fellow houseboat residents around the …

2013 Officers of the Fort Lauderdale Mariners Club

I am pleased to announce that I have been elected Program Chair of the Fort Lauderdale Mariners Club for the upcoming year. The Fort Lauderdale Mariners Club Officers for 2013 are the following:

Skipper - Matt Valcourt
First Mate - Charles Davant
Purser - Kristene Lundblad
Yeoman - Bryan Emond
Program Chair – Michelle Otero Valdes
Bos’n – Elaine Frawley
Historian – Terry Jones
Activities Chair – Arlene Weicher
Seminar Chair - Jonathan Dunleavy

I am excited with this new position and will be looking to my colleagues in the maritime community to be ready to speak about matters of interest to the Club.

If you have any interesting topics to present, please feel free to contact me at