Lemon v. People’s Trust Insurance Company

peoples trust insurance company building

On June 3, 2022, the Fifth District Court of Appeal reversed a final judgment in favor or the insurer based on a defense of Accord and Satisfaction.  Lemon v. People’s Tr. Ins. Co., 5D21-2771, 2022 WL 1814128 (Fla. 5th DCA June 3, 2022). The insurer issued a payment of $15,286.40 and the check stub bore the notation: “REASON: FULL AND FINAL PAYMENT.”  The insured chased the check and later became aware of additional damages and submitted a supplemental claim. The insurer refused to issue additional payment and claimed the insured’s action of cashing the check barred further recovery.  At trial, the insured’s counsel moved for directed verdict as to the accord and satisfaction defense, because the insured had a right to submit a subsequent supplemental claim.  The Fifth District held that the trial court erred by denying the insured’s motion for directed verdict and the opinion included the following finding:  
 
Because the language of the check tendered in satisfaction of the original damage claim is susceptible of only one interpretation—that it was offered (and accepted) in settlement of only the damages claimed and adjusted as of that date—and there was no evidence whatsoever of the parties’ intent to preclude supplemental claims, it was error to deny the Lemons’ motion for directed verdict and subsequent motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict on PTI’s affirmative defense of accord and satisfaction. Accordingly, we reverse the Final Judgment and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.
 
A copy of the decision can be accessed here.