ORLANDO — A Florida woman involved in a car accident recently filed a
lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, accusing an automobile insurer of “wrongful and premature cancellation
of insurance policies,” Joseph Flood, partner at Dean, Ringers, Morgan &
Lawton P.A., who is representing the plaintiff, told the Florida Record.
Jennifer Stafford, the plaintiff, alleges that Alfa Vision Insurance Corp.,
Alfa Mutual Insurance Co. and the Vision Insurance Group LLC acted in common
law bad faith and civil conspiracy, among other alleged charges, following a
car accident on Feb. 2, 2007 in which Stafford’s vehicle was hit by vehicle driven by Jeremy T. Spencer.
Stafford was injured in the accident. Spencer was driving a vehicle owned by Arthur J. Downing Sr.
“Ms. Stafford was severely injured in the underlying automobile
accident,” Flood said. “However, her injuries are not the subject of this
lawsuit, which... relates to the conduct of the defendants.”
Downing filed the claim with his
car insurer the day after the car accident, which was later denied, according to court documents. The
lawsuit alleges that the insurers told Downing’s lawyers that due to non-payment of
premiums, the policy had been canceled the day before the accident.
The insurers reestablished the insurance policy the day after the
accident, meaning that it was not valid on the day of the accident.
“The lawsuit was filed seeking punitive damages to address the
wrongful and premature cancellation of insurance policies as a general
business practice in violation of Florida law,” Flood said.
Stanford holds the insurance companies liable because they
allegedly did not offer Downing the traditional 10-day grace period required
by state statute before cancelling the policy.
The lawsuit asks for a trial by jury and seeks ruling against
the defendants, punitive damages, costs, interest and attorney's fees.
“Offers to compromise and negotiations are generally privileged
pursuant to Federal Rule of Evidence 408,” Flood said. “Additionally, the
lawsuit has only recently been filed and although the defendants have accepted
service, they have not filed a response.”
Flood said he expects “the practices of the defendants will be
held to be unlawful and an appropriate award of punitive damages imposed to
deter this and similar conduct.”