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

MARTIN COUNTY SCHOOL BOARD v. ACE AMERICAN INSURANCE COMPANY

ATTENTION: It is possible that this information may no longer be current and therefore may be inaccurate. The index contains both open and closed cases and is not a complete list of cases in which an ACE Insurance Group company is involved. This information is provided to give interested persons an idea of the issues disputed in the indexed cases. For a full understanding of a case, one should read the rest of the court file, including the response. For the most up-to-date and complete information on a case, visit www.pacer.gov or contact the clerk of the relevant court.

Case Number: 
2:12-cv-14315 Search Pacer
ACE Group party(s): 
Opposing Party: 
Martin County School Board
Court Type: 
Federal
US District Court: 
Southern District of Florida
Date Filed: 
Sep 5 2012

"COUNT I - DECLARATORY RELIEF

1. This is an action for declaratory relief brought pursuant to Rule 57, Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

2. The Plaintiff, SCHOOL BOARD, is a legal division of Martin County Florida authorized to operate and control the public education system for the citizens of Martin County, Florida.

3. The Defendant, ACE, is a foreign insurance company with its principal place of business being within the State of New York. It is licensed and doing business in the State of Florida and at all times material hereto, issued a Educator's Legal Liability policy to the Plaintiff in Martin County, Florida

4. This Court has subject matter jurisdiction over this action because it is a declaratory relief action and pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1332, the matter in controversy exceeds the jurisdictional limit of this Court, exclusive of interest and costs and it is between citizens in different states. Count II, the claim for breach of contract also exceeds damages in excess of $75,000.

5. Venue is proper in this Court pursuant to 29 U.S.C. §1391 (a)(1) because jurisdiction is founded only on diversity of citizenship and the parties each do business within this jurisdictional District.

6. The Plaintiff is requesting a determination of its benefits and rights under a contract of insurance that is the issue of this declaratory action, including a determination as to whether or not the policy of insurance which is the subject of this action provides coverage for a loss to be described below.

7. Declaratory relief is proper regarding the subject matter of this action because there is a controversy between the parties as it relates the Plaintiff's right to insurance coverage and the Defendant's obligation to afford coverage to the Plaintiff as a result of the underlying action to be described below and thus, the Plaintiff is entitled to have the doubt removed because a justicable controversy exists.

8. On July 1, 2009, this Defendant, ACE AMERICAN INSURANCE COMPANY, did issue to the Plaintiff, MARTIN COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT, an Educator's Legal Liability policy with effective dates July 1, 2009 to July 1, 2010. A true and accurate copy of the policy is attached hereto as Exhibit 1.

9. Within the policy period, as described above, Gordon Mershon, by and through his wife and representative Dorothy Mershon, filed a claim with the Equal Opportunity Commission against the Plaintiff alleging that he was discriminated against in his employment pursuant to the Age Discrimination and Employment Act of 1967. Such a claim falls specifically within the coverage afforded under the policy issued by Defendant to the Plaintiff.

10. Pursuant to the terms and conditions of the policy, the Plaintiff, MARTIN COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT, provided notice to the Defendant, ACE, of Mershon's claim and demanded defense and indemnity from ACE pursuant to the terms and conditions of the policy.

11. On July 13, 2012, or well past a year after being put on notice, the Defendant, ACE, issued a letter of denial of coverage claiming (a) that they were not put on timely notice of the claim and were prejudiced as a result thereof and (b) that the notice they received was under the incorrect policy, even though, they had the exact same coverage in place for the policy period they assert that this action should have been reported under.

12. It is the Plaintiff's contention that the Defendant's denial of coverage is null and void pursuant to their failure to comply with the requirements of Florida Statute §627.427 (3). Additionally, it is the Plaintiffs contention that the Defendant has not in fact been prejudiced by the date and form in which they received notice of this claim from the MARTIN COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT. A copy of the Defendant's denial letter is attached hereto as Exhibit 2.

13. A controversy has therefore arisen as to whether or not the Defendant, ACE AMERICAN INSURANCE COMPANY, has breached the terms and conditions of the insurance policy and is further estopped to deny coverage in the claim brought by Mershon.

14. A judicial declaration of the rights and duties of the parties is necessary and appropriate at this time due to the controversy as set forth above.

COUNT II - BREACH OF CONTRACT

15. Paragraphs 2, 3, 4, 5, 9, 10, and 11 are incorporated by reference herein.

16. At all times material herein, the Plaintiff, MARTIN COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT, complied with all conditions precedent of the insurance policy issued by Ace American Insurance Company, a copy of which is attached hereto as Exhibit 1.

17. Pursuant to the terms and conditions of the Ace Scholastic Advantage Educator's Legal Liability Policy, attached hereto is Exhibit 1, the Defendant had a legal duty to defend the Plaintiff, MARTIN COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT, for the claims and legal actions brought by Gordon Merson by and through his wife and representative Dorothy Mershon.

18. The Plaintiff made a demand upon the Defendant, ACE AMERICAN INSURANCE COMPANY, to defend it and hold it harmless in this cause pursuant to the contract of insurance and the Defendant has breached its contractual duty in this regard."

The provided text is an excerpt from a document filed in this case. For a full understanding of the case, one should read the complete court file, including the response.

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