A federal appeals court on Monday upheld a lower court’s ruling in favor of Lloyd’s underwriters in Hurricane Irma-related litigation filed by a Florida vegetable grower.
The operations of Delray Beach-based Pero Family Farm Food Co. Ltd. includes growing vegetables for retail and wholesale trade and sending seeds to a third-party grower who grows them into seedlings until they are mature enough to be transported to Pero’s fields, according to the ruling by the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta in Certain underwriters at Lloyd’s of London subscribing to Policy No. B0799c029630K against Pero Family Farm Food Co. Ltd.
After Hurricane Irma hit South Florida in September 2017, Pero filed claims, including coverage for the loss of vegetables stored in coolers in Delray Beach; plants that had been grown in third-party greenhouses; plants that had grown in Pero’s fields; and plastic covers for plants in the fields.
Lloyd’s paid for Pero’s loss of the vegetables in its coolers but denied coverage for the remaining claims. It sued Pero in US District Court in Miami seeking a declaration that its policy did not cover the damages it had refused to cover, and Pero sued for breach of the policy.
The district court ruled that in Lloyd’s favor and was upheld by a three-judge court panel.
Pero Farm’s policy “unequivocally covered goods or merchandise only while in transit, or by extension, ‘in store,’ as ‘stock’ at a ‘location’ during the transit process,” the panel said, in upholding the lower court.
Attorneys in the case did not respond to requests for comment.
In December, the 11th Circuit ruled in favor of an Arch Capital Group Ltd. unit in a dispute with a hotel owner over damage caused by Hurricane Irma.