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Surplus Lines Policies Subject to Chapter 627 of Florida Statutes

In Essex Insurance Company v. Zota , 2008 WL 2520879 (Fla., 2008), Mercedes Zota was injured when she fell from scaffolding while painting a mural on the second story ceiling of a home under construction. Zota was performing work as a salaried employee of Perla Lichi Designs and the President of Trompe L’Oeils ‘R’ Us when she was injured. Trompe L’Oeils and Perla Lichi Designs had contracted with Lighthouse Intracoastal, Inc., the owner of the premises where Zota was injured, to paint the ceiling of that residence.

After the incident, Zota and her husband brought a negligence action against: Lighthouse; Broward Executive Builders, Inc., the general contractor for the project; and Jack Farji, a 50 percent shareholder of Lighthouse and the owner of Broward. Lighthouse’s insurer, Essex, then filed a federal diversity action seeking declaratory relief against Lighthouse, Broward, Farji, and the Zotas. It sought a determination and declaration of its rights and obligations with respect to the defendants in the negligence action filed in state court.

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