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COLEMAN v. ACE AMERICAN INSURANCE COMPANY Complaint

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.

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Case 2:10-cv-00651-JES-DNF Document 1
Filed 10/20/10 Page 1 of 4
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT MIDDLE DISTRICT OF FLORIDA FT. MYERS DIVISION
Donald Coleman,
Plaintiff,
vs.
CASE NO.:
.
ACE American Insurance Company,
Defendant.
/
COMPLAINT AND DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL
Plaintiff, DONALD COLEMAN, by and through the undersigned counsel, sues
Defendant, ACE AMERICAN INSURANCE COMPANY, and in support thereof states as
follows:
Jurisdiction
1. This is an action for breach of an insurance policy contract for the wrongful
denial of a claim made by Plaintiff after the sinking of a recreational marine vesseL.
2. This Court has jurisdiction over this action under 28 U.S.C. § 1332 because it
is between a citizen of the State of Florida and a citizen of different states or of foreign
countries, and the amount in controversy exceeds the sum of $75,000, exclusive of interest
and costs.
Parties and Venue
3. At all times material hereto, Plaintiff, Donald Coleman ("Coleman"), a
resident of Florida, maintained a residence in Bonita Springs, Lee County, Florida 34134.
Case 2:10-cv-00651-JES-DNF Document 1
Filed 10/20/10 Page 2 of 4
4. Defendant, ACE American Insurance Company ("ACE"), is a foreign
corporation with its principal place of business in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and engages in
substantial and not isolated business activity within the State of Florida through the sale of
insurance policies delivered to policyholders in Florida.
5. At all times material hereto, Coleman timely paid the premiums for the
Yachtsman/Windjammer/Boatsman Policy number YKR Y08456331 (the "Policy," a true
and correct copy of which is attached hereto as Exhibit "A"), a recreational marine
insurance policy issued by ACE, which became effective on or around April 9, 2010 and
covered Coleman's 2009 Fountain 38-foot Express Cruiser with Serial Number FGQ 8E 124
D8 09 (the "Vessel").
6. Venue is appropriate in this Court because the Policy was delivered to
Coleman at the address listed in paragraph 3, above.
Factual Summary
7. At all times material hereto, Coleman owned a leasehold interest in a slip at
Island Marina in Naples, Florida, where he kept the VesseL.
8. In or around March, 2009, Coleman hired a third-party vendor to install a
hydraulic swim platform on the stem of the Vessel to allow for compliant storage at his
marina slip and easier ingress and egress from the VesseL.
9. On or about April 9, 2010, Coleman and ACE entered into a valid and
enforceable contract when Coleman paid good and valuable consideration for the Policy,
pursuant to which ACE assumed liability for all risks that may befall the Vessel, except for
the exclusions named therein.
2
Case 2:10-cv-00651-JES-DNF Document 1
Filed 10/20/10 Page 3 of 4
10. On or around April 21, 2010, the Vessel, which was unattended at the time, foundered in its slip causing substantial property loss to the VesseL.
1 1. On or around April 21, 2010, after learning of the V esse!' s sinking, Coleman
filed Claim Number JY10J0174702 (the "Claim") with ACE.
12. On or around June 21, 2010, some 61 days after Coleman filed the Claim,
ACE issued a denial letter with respect to the Claim ("Denial Letter") in contravention of
Policy terms, which provide in pertinent part that ACE ". . . will pay for any covered loss
under this policy within thirty (30) days after both the detailed sworn proof-of-loss and proof
of your interest in the insured property are given to us." See Ex. A, p. 10. A true and correct
copy of the Denial Letter is attached hereto as Exhibit "B."
13. Following his receipt of the Denial Letter, Coleman hired the undersigned
counsel to determine the rights available under the Policy.
14. This action is timely under the Policy, see Ex. A, p.10, having been
commenced within one (1) year of the date ofloss or damage.
15. All conditions precedent to Plaintiffs right to bring this action have been
pedormed or occurred, including denial of the Claim submitted to ACE.
COUNT I - BREACH OF CONTRACT
16. Plaintiff re-incorporates and re-alleges paragraphs 1 through 15 as if fully
stated herein.
17. On or about June 21,2010, some 61 days after Coleman filed the Claim, ACE
issued a letter denying coverage for the Claim.
3
Case 2:10-cv-00651-JES-DNF Document 1
Filed 10/20/10 Page 4 of 4
18. ACE failed to identify an applicable exclusion under the Policy to deny
coverage for the harm suffered by the Vessel on or around April 21, 2010.
19. The failure to pay for the loss within thirty (30) days of the Claim and/or to
identify the exclusion from coverage under the Policy constitutes a breach of the Policy on
the part of ACE.
20. As an actual and proximate cause of the breach of the Policy by ACE,
Coleman has suffered damages in the amount of recoverable policy benefits.
WHEREFORE, Coleman demands an award of actual damages resulting from the
breach of the Policy by ACE, attorney's fees pursuant to Sec. 627.428, Fla.Stat., costs and
such other reliefthat this Court deems just and proper.
DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL
21. Coleman demands a trial by jury on all issues so triable.
Respectfully Submitted:
Russell S. Buhite Florida Bar No: 0831085 FOWLER WHITE BOGGS P.A. P.O. Box 1438 Tampa, FL 33601 (813) 228-7411 Fax No: (813) 229-8313 Email: rbuhite@fowlerwhite.com Attorneys for Plaintiff
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