My client noticed cracking around the exterior of then garage, and then in her living room.  She was concerned that this may be a sinkhole so she contacted her homeowners insurer.  The homeowners insurance company retained an engineering firm (which I have seen on hundreds of sinkhole claims) and not surprisingly, the engineering firm declared that there was no sinkhole activity.
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In two recent decisions rendered on June 29, 2012 and on July 11, 2012, the Second DCA held that Florida Statute Section 627.7074 – the Sinkhole Neutral Evaluation Statute – was constitutional.  The two cases are entitled State Farm Florida Insurance Company v. Buitrago, ____ So.3d ____ (Fla. 2nd DCA 2012) and Sunshine State Insurance Company v. Benjamin, ____ So.3d ____ (Fla. 2nd DCA 2012).
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My client recently noticed cracking in the walls and foundation of his home.  He asked his homeowners insurance company to inspect for possible sinkhole activity affecting his home.  The homeowners insurer retained an engineer and a geologist to inspect the home and perform sinkhole testing.  The insurance company’s engineer and geologist concluded that there was

After back-to-back trials which ended last week, I’ve been quite busy meeting with new clients.  In this case, my client’s homeowners insurance company confirmed that his house was suffering from damage from sinkhole activity.  The insurance company hired an engineering firm to prepare a sinkhole remediation plan.  On its face, the remediation plan appeared deficient. 

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My client’s homeowners insurance company has confirmed that a sinkhole is damaging his home. Additionally, several of his surrounding neighbors have sustained significant sinkhole damage. The insurance company retained an engineering firm to come up with a sinkhole remediation plan. The plan suggested by the insurer’s engineering firm is inadequate in two very significant respects.

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My client’s homeowner’s insurer retained the services of a geotechnical engineering firm and geologist to perform a sinkhole investigation at my client’s home.  The insurance company’s engineers and geologist wrote a report concluding that there was no sinkhole activity at the insured’s home.  However, while the engineering/geologist’s report concludes that there is no sinkhole activity, the data in the report proves that there is a sinkhole.  Plus, the report seems to omit some very important information that one would expect to be in a statutorily compliant sinkhole investigative report.

Unfortunately, insureds are not capable of reading and understanding the finer points of a sinkhole investigation report.  Once I received the report, we filed a lawsuit against the homeowners insurer for improperly denying the existence of a sinkhole.  Immediately upon receiving the lawsuit, the insurance company demanded “neutral evaluation.”


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