Article Courtesy of The Free
Published June 14, 2022
appeals court Friday sided with homeowners in a dispute about additional damage
they found after accepting a check from a property-insurance company for a claim
stemming from Hurricane Matthew.
three-judge panel of the 5th District Court of Appeal overturned a Brevard
County circuit-court decision that People’s Trust Insurance Co. did not have to
pay for the additional damage because Richard and Leanne Lemon had accepted the
The $15,286 check covered the costs of repairing the home’s roof, fence and a
master-bedroom ceiling after the October 2016 hurricane, according to Friday’s
But the homeowners later sought to supplement their claim after discovering
moisture damage in ceilings, the garage and a home office. The Lemons submitted
a claim of $35,155 and filed a breach-of-contract lawsuit when People’s Trust
did not respond, the ruling said.
During the trial, the insurer argued that “once it tendered the check and the
Lemons accepted it, there was an accord and satisfaction that barred any further
recovery,” according to the appeals court.
A jury agreed with the insurer, but the appeals court said that “under no view
could the language on the check evince an intention to settle future, unknown
As a result, it said the circuit judge should have entered what is known as a
“directed verdict” for the homeowners.
“Because the language of the check tendered in satisfaction of the original
damage claim is susceptible of only one interpretation — that it was offered
(and accepted) in settlement of only the damages claimed and adjusted as of that
date — and there was no evidence whatsoever of the parties’ intent to preclude
supplemental claims, it was error to deny the Lemons’ motion for directed
verdict and subsequent motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict on PTI’s
(People’s Trust Insurance’s) affirmative defense of accord and satisfaction,”
said the ruling, written by Judge Carrie Ann Wozniak and joined by Judges Kerry
Evander and F. Rand Wallis.
RICHARD + LEANNE LEMON
v. PEOPLE'S TRUST INSURANCE COMPANY