Zurich Insurance Group Faces Suspension of Business Operations in Florida Over Non-payment of Outstanding Attorneys' Fees and Costs, says Searcy Denney

Searcy Denney and FalconTrust Win Court Order Forcing State Regulator to Take Action

Jan 27, 2014, 10:50 ET from Searcy Denney Scarola Barnhart & Shipley, PA

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla., Jan. 27, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- South Florida law firm Searcy Denney Scarola Barnhart & Shipley, PA (Searcy Denney) announced that, on behalf of its client FalconTrust Group, Inc., a suit has been filed directing the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) to revoke certificates of authority issued to Zurich U.S. and related entities unless Zurich adequately responds within 20 days of the date of service.

According to the ruling issued on January 6, 2014 by Florida's 2nd Judicial Circuit Court in Leon County, Zurich must show good cause why, pursuant to state statutory mandates, the Court should not issue a Writ of Mandamus directing the OIR to revoke Zurich's current licenses, and to not issue new certificates of authority. At issue is Zurich's continuing failure to pay the legal fees and expenses in a related case in which Zurich was found to have breached a multi-million dollar commission agreement with FalconTrust.

If Zurich fails to show good cause – or to meet all its obligations incurred as a result of FalconTrust's lawsuit – the company and its affiliates will be precluded from doing business in the state of Florida. Searcy Denny's Complaint seeking the Writ of Mandamus was filed on December 20, 2013 in FalconTrust Group, Inc. v. Florida Office of Insurance Regulation, Zurich U.S., et al. (Case No.: 2013 CA 003541).

The underlying case, FalconTrust Group, Inc. v. Zurich U.S., et al. (Case No. 07-06199 CA 40), originated in early 2007 when FalconTrust sued Zurich for not paying commissions due FalconTrust. Following an eight-day jury trial in December 2010, the jury concluded that FalconTrust was entitled to $7,592,029.00 in commissions. The award was set-off by monies previously deducted by FalconTrust, and on January 10, 2012, the court entered final judgment in favor of FalconTrust for $1,961,695.85.

On September 28, 2012, the trial court also granted FalconTrust's motion for attorneys' fees and costs. It is those fees and costs that have remained outstanding beyond the allowable time limits stipulated by the applicable statute. Zurich paid the judgment itself in October 2013, but failed to pay the associated attorneys' fees and costs. The time limit stipulated by Florida law for payment of the associated fees and costs has now elapsed.

"We thank the Court for its faithful adherence to the letter and spirit of the statute," said attorney Jack Scarola, the Search Denney name-shareholder who represents FalconTrust. "They've sent a clear message, that the most powerful insurers in the market must also meet their obligations under the law."

Related companies subject to the court-ordered suspension include Zurich American Insurance Company, Zurich American Insurance Company of Illinois, American Zurich Insurance Company, and American Guarantee and Liability Insurance Company.

For further information, contact Justin Wilson at 202.973.1324 or jwilson@levick.com.

About Searcy Denney Scarola Barnhart & Shipley, PA
A nationally recognized trial law firm, Searcy Denney Scarola Barnhart & Shipley, P.A. is committed to protecting victims of negligence, defective products and corporate wrongdoing. Over the past 35 years, the firm has represented clients in courtrooms throughout Florida and across the nation.

SOURCE Searcy Denney Scarola Barnhart & Shipley, PA