March 7, 2013

Florida Supreme Court Limits Application of the Economic Loss Rule to Product Liability Cases

Holland & Knight Alert
Adolfo E. Jimenez

Earlier today, the Florida Supreme Court published an important decision in Tiara Condominium Association, Inc., etc. v. Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc., et al., No. SC10-1022 (March 7, 2013). The case was before the court on a certified question from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, which the Florida Supreme Court rephrased as follows: "Does the Economic Loss Rule bar an insured's suit against an insurance broker where the parties are in contractual privity with one another and the damages sought are solely for economic losses?"

Rather than answering the question narrowly under existing economic loss rule precedent, the court answered the question in the negative and held that the applicability of the economic loss rule in Florida is limited to product liability cases. The  court was divided, voting 5-2, with Justices Polston and Canady dissenting.

This severe limitation of the economic loss rule will undoubtedly result in a significant increase in the number of tort claims that will henceforth accompany most breach of contract claims.

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