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Adam P. Handfinger, left and Meredith Reynolds, right of Peckar & Abramson. Adam P. Handfinger, left and Meredith Reynolds, right of Peckar & Abramson.

On Dec. 14, 2017, in Altman Contractors v. Crum & Forster Specialty Insurance, No. SC15-1420 (Dec. 14, 2017), the Florida Supreme Court held that the pre-suit notice of claim process under Chapter 558 of the Florida Statutes is a “suit” as defined by standard Commercial General Liability Insurance Policies, and thus, could require insurance companies to provide their insureds a defense through that process and prior to the commencement of formal litigation or arbitration. This decision is beneficial to contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, design professionals and owners, all of whom benefit by insurance carriers’ participation in the Chapter 558 process, designed by Florida’s legislature to “reduce the need for litigation as well as [to] protect the rights of property owners”.

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