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Supreme Court to decide whether Citizens' is immune from lawsuits

By James Call

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wfsu/local-wfsu-985582.mp3

Tallahassee, FL – The Florida Supreme Court will decide whether Citizens Property Insurance Corporation is protected against bad faith lawsuits. James Call reports, Citizens' Attorney Thursday argued that when the Legislature created the state's insurer of last resort, it gave it immunity against such lawsuits.

Citizens attorney Barry Richard says lawmakers gave Citizens one very clear purpose, to be a funding mechanism to pay for damage to property. Richard argued the Legislature went to extraordinary lengths to protect those taxpayer-backed funds.

It is not consistent with that purpose to say Citizens is required to defend a lawsuit all the way up to final judgement on something they have been given immunity on.

More than 100 members of an Escambia County condominium association wants to sue Citizens over six million dollars in claims from Hurricane Ivan in 2004. Their attorney called Richard' s claim of immunity just spin, nothing but spin. The justices will determine whether the lawsuit can move forward.