Eleventh Circuit Declines 7th GEICO Car Crash Trial

October 2, 2015

On Tuesday September 22, 2015, the Eleventh Circuit declined to allow a seventh trial in a GEICO General Insurance Co. coverage dispute, rejecting an argument by the estate of a car crash victim that the insurer wasn’t prejudiced by the exclusion of decisions reached after it denied coverage, according to a Law360 article.

The court refused to rehear the decision vacating a Florida federal court judgment in favor of Esperanza Garcia, who represents the estate of a women killed in a car accident with a GEICO-insured driver in a car rented by someone else. The court found that GEICO should have been able to tell the jury that the coverage decision preceding Garcia’s bad faith suit was overturned because of changes in Florida case law impacting whether the driver has the rental agency’s consent to drive the car.

The court stated that “the exclusion substantially prejudiced GEICO,” and “a jury would no doubt find it exceedingly relevant that Florida law on implied consent was in a state of flux, or that a panel of Florida’s First District Court of Appeal and a United States District Judge for the Southern District of Florida supported GEICO’s conclusion regarding implied consent.”

Garcia petitioned the court for a panel rehearing in early September, asking the Eleventh Circuit that GEICO could not have been hindered by the judge’s order excluding legal rulings reached after the company denied coverage, arguing that those rulings were based on previous, cumulative decisions, making their exclusion harmless.

The Eleventh Circuit rejected all of Garcia’s requests in an order on September 22, 2015.

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