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Renee Bush v. State Farm Mutual Auto. Ins. Co., (2nd DCA)

In Bush, the plaintiff appealed a summary judgment entered in favor of State Farm. The Second DCA reversed based upon the Florida Supreme Court’s decision in State Farm Mutual Auto. Ins. Co. v. Curran, 135 So. 3d 1071 (Fla. 2014).

The plaintiff was involved in an automobile accident. When her auto insurer denied her claim for uninsured/underinsured motorist benefits, she filed suit against her insurer seeking payment for expenses incurred from orthopedic injuries she alleged resulted from the accident. State Farm later served a notice of medical examination under Fla. R. Civ. P. 1.360. The plaintiff objected to the examination and requested various protections. State Farm did not agree to the plaintiff’s demands. The plaintiff did not appear at the examination. Based on the plaintiff’s failure to appear at the examination, State Farm added a defense of “no coverage” to its pleadings. State Farm moved for summary judgment arguing the plaintiff forfeited coverage by breaching the policy’s terms. The trial court entered summary judgment in State Farm’s favor.

While Bush was on appeal, the Florida Supreme Court issued its opinion in Curran, in which the court held that an insured’s failure to comply with an insurance policy’s compulsory medical examination clause did not result in automatic forfeiture of coverage. The Curran court ruled that a compulsory medical examination provision in the uninsured/underinsured motorist context is a post-loss obligation of the insured and is not a condition precedent to coverage. Curran requires a finding of prejudice to the insurer before coverage may be denied. No finding of prejudice was made in Bush, given that the trial court ruled before Curran was rendered. As such, the Second DCA reversed.

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