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Greenberg Traurig Team Recovers Nearly $1 Million in Contract Dispute Over Insurance Premiums

MIAMI Nov. 23, 2015 – A team of Greenberg Traurig Litigation attorneys took over a more than 16-year-old contract dispute case and recovered more than $927,000 for client Zenith Insurance Company, following a six-day jury trial last week in Miami-Dade Circuit Court.

After deliberations of more than two hours, the jury found that Zenith was entitled to damages from Farm Stores Corporation and a variety of affiliated entities. The damages represent money owed for workers’ compensation insurance coverage provided to Farm Stores from 1993 to 1997. With interest, Zenith’s damage award is expected to almost double the initial jury verdict. Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Samantha Ruiz-Cohen presided over the case.

The Greenberg Traurig litigation team, which took over the case six weeks before trial, was led by Fort Lauderdale Shareholder David O. Batista and Associate Sara Levy, as well as Thomas Valentine from Walters Levine Klingensmith & Thomison in Sarasota. Other Greenberg Traurig attorneys involved in the case included Orlando Litigation Shareholder Bill Spivey, Miami Appellate Shareholder Julissa Rodriguez and Miami Appellate Associate Stephanie Varela.

During the time period at issue, Farm Stores had obtained worker’s compensation insurance first from Riscorp Insurance Company and then from its successor Zenith Insurance Company.  After the first year of coverage, the amount that Farm Stores owed to Zenith for this coverage was calculated based on a formula set forth in the policy.  In addition to a base annual premium, Farm Stores was later billed by Zenith additional amounts based on the amounts actually paid to adjust and settle workers’ compensation claims filed by Farm Stores’ employees.

Farm Stores sued Zenith for alleged breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty contending that Zenith mishandled the claims administration process, which resulted in inflated retrospective premiums and overpayment of retrospective insurance premiums. 

Zenith denied liability and counterclaimed against various Farm Stores related entities. Zenith alleged breach of contract for Farm Stores’ failure to pay outstanding premiums due. Farm Stores denied that it owed Zenith any additional premiums. Farm Stores recovered nothing on its case.