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The Collaborative Clearinghouse for Lawsuits and Other Claims Against ACE Group Insurance Companies

Fruit Fest Sues ACE Unit

December 6th, 2013 - A popular wintertime festival in Florida has sued ACE American Insurance Co. over its alleged refusal to pay for defense of a lawsuit involving a ride operator at the event.


The Florida Strawberry Festival Inc. sued the ACE Group unit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. The festival is an entertainment and agribusiness showcase event that has been staged since 1930 in Plant City, Florida.


Florida Strawberry was sued in 2012 by Mildred McRae, who alleged that she fell while attending the event and sustained unspecified injuries. McRae also named Broward Health Medical Center as a defendant.


After being sued by McRae, Florida Strawberry sued Deltona, Florida-based Belle City Amusements Inc. Belle City operates amusement rides, said Florida Strawberry, and had exclusive use and control of the premises where McRae supposedly fell.


As part of its contract with Belle City, Florida Strawberry required the ride operator to agree to indemnify and hold it harmless for any and all losses and damages or claims. Belle City secured an insurance policy with ACE that started June 1st, 2010, and ran through June 1st, 2011. Florida Strawberry was named an additional insured to that policy by virtue of its ownership of the premises upon which Belle City operated its fair and midway.


Florida Strawberry said there is a controversy as to whether the ACE policy provides coverage that would include the cost of defense of the McRae suit and any indemnity. It said that the McRae suit cannot be settled without a court first making such a determination.


In a suit, Florida Strawberry asked the court to rule that ACE has a duty to defend and indemnify; to date it has refused such tenders from Florida Strawberry.

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