Kapral v. Geico Indemnity Company

Filing 285

ORDER denying 277 Plaintiff's Motion for New Trial. Signed by Judge James S. Moody, Jr. on 3/9/2017. (LN)

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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT MIDDLE DISTRICT OF FLORIDA TAMPA DIVISION CORY R. KAPRAL, Plaintiff, v. Case No: 8:13-cv-2967-T-36AAS GEICO INDEMNITY COMPANY, Defendant. ORDER THIS CAUSE comes before the Court on Plaintiff's Cory Kapral's Motion for New Trial (Doc. 277) and Defendant GEICO Indemnity Company's Response (Doc. 284). Having considered the Motion, Response, and relevant law, the Court concludes the Motion should be denied. Plaintiff argues the Court should grant a new trial because the Court (1) improperly directed a verdict on his inadequate defense claim; (2) gave or failed to give proper jury instructions; and (3) disregarded a prior summary judgment order by allowing Defendant to argue a legally invalid affirmative defense. Only the first of these arguments merit discussion. 1 Plaintiff’s argument that one of his defense counsel—who did not represent Plaintiff in the underlying trial—was negligent does not state a claim against Defendant for 1 The Court denies the second and third arguments for the reasons stated on the record and the reasons argued in GEICO’s response. providing an inadequate defense. That is because Defendant cannot be held vicariously liable for the professional negligence of the independent defense counsel it provided; rather, Defendant satisfied its obligations by providing competent counsel who can adequately defend Plaintiff. Marlin v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 761 So. 2d 380, 381 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2000) (citing Aetna Cas. & Sur. Co. v. Protective Nat. Ins. Co. of Omaha, 631 So. 2d 305, 306 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1993), on reh'g in part (Feb. 8, 1994)); and Zurich Am. Ins. Co. v. Frankel Enterprises, 287 F. App'x 775, 779 (11th Cir. 2008). Thus, the Court did not err in directing a verdict in favor of Defendant on this count. Accordingly, it is ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that Plaintiff’s Motion for New Trial (Doc. 277) is DENIED. DONE and ORDERED in Tampa, Florida, this 9th day of March, 2017. Copies furnished to: Counsel/Parties of Record 2

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