Disciplined in Sophisticated Defense and Insurance Litigation

A Partner at Butler since 2005, Diane M. Barnes-Reynolds practices law in our Tampa office. Her litigation practice mainly focuses on First-Party Coverage, which includes water damage, windstorm, sinkhole, collapse, builder’s risk, business interruption claims, jewelry, and theft. She also has experience in inflated claims and insurance fraud.

Diane graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science in 2000. She received her Doctor of Jurisprudence from Florida State University College of Law in 2003. While in law school, Diane was vice president of the Mock Trial Team and received numerous accolades, including the Best Advocate Award at the 2002 State Champion of Academy of Florida trial Lawyers Mock Trial Competition. She also interned in Washington, D.C. for a telecommunications law firm in addition to interning for the Children’s Advocacy Center in Tallahassee and the Second Judicial Circuit, Felony Division. Before joining Butler, Diane practiced franchise law in Tallahassee where she focused on relationships between automobile manufacturers and dealers.

Since becoming a lawyer, Diane has published “Punitive Damages – The Rationale of Ratios” for Mealey’s Litigation Report: Insurance Bad Faith (Vol. 21, #16, December 18, 2007). She is also an experienced public speaker, having presented at several claims conferences.

Admissions

  • Florida

Recognitions

  • Best Advocate Award at the 2002 State Champion of the Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers Mock Trial Competition

Education

  • University of Florida
    Bachelor of Arts in Political Science
  • Florida State University College of Law
    Doctor of Jurisprudence

Memberships

  • Claims and Litigation Management Alliance (CLM)
  • Defense Research Institute (DRI)
  • Former Board Member of Tallahassee Women Lawyers
  • Hillsborough County Bar Association (HCBA)
  • Property Loss Research Bureau (PLRB)
  • The Florida Bar

Courts

  • Colorado District Courts
  • Florida Courts (Northern, Middle and Southern Districts)
  • Florida State Courts
  • Michigan Courts (Western District)
December 18, 2007 PUBLICATIONPunitive Damages - the Rationale of Ratios

Since the Supreme Court’s decision in State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company v. Campbell, courts have struggled to define when the Campbell court’s presumptive limit of 9 to 1 ratio of punitive damages to compensatory damages is appropriate. The Supreme Court stated that the "most important indicium of the reasonableness of a punitive damages award" was the highly subjective measure of the "degree of reprehensibility." Wrestling with such an amorphous concept trial courts and appellate courts have sought to justify various punitive damage awards on the basis of a sliding scale, doing little more than subjectively comparing the "reprehensibility" in the case being reviewed, to other recent cases decided before it. The result is a marked disparity from one court to the next as to what constitutes behavior falling within the five (5) factors of reprehensibility discussed in Campbell.

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Court Decisions

COURT DECISIONFLORIDA COURT HOLDS QUESTIONS OF FACT WERE CREATED AS TO WHETHER INSURED SUBSTANTIALLY COMPLIED WITH POST-LOSS OBLIGATIONS AND WHETHER INSURER WAS PREJUDICED BY INSURED'S UNTIMELY COMPLIANCE

State Farm Florida Insurance Company v. Figueroa, No. 4D15-2698, 2017 WL 514361 (Fla. 4th DCA Feb. 8, 2017)

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COURT DECISIONFLORIDA THIRD DCA FINDS NO IRREPARABLE HARM JUSTIFYING CERTIORARI IN ACTION ABATED TO ALLOW INSURER TO PROCEED ON ITS ELECTION TO REPAIR

The insureds sustained a water loss to their home and their insurer, Florida Peninsula, exercised its option under the policy to repair the damaged property, rather than issue a payment for the covered loss.  The insureds refused to sign the work authorization and instead filed suit, alleging breach of contract for failure of Florida Peninsula to pay the claim, and a declaratory action alleging they were unsure of their rights under the policy, including scope of repairs.

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COURT DECISIONFLORIDA COURT REVERSES ORDER COMPELLING APPRAISAL ON 11-YEAR-OLD HURRICANE WILMA CLAIM FOR FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH ALL POST-LOSS CONDITIONS

The Third DCA held that the insureds must comply with all post-loss obligations before an appraisal may be compelled.

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Blog Posts

March 14, 2017 BLOG POST2017 Florida State Legislature to Consider Bills Aimed at Assignments of Benefits, Water Losses, Appraisers, and Umpires

The 2017 Florida Legislative Session convened on March 7.  Of particular interest to property insurers are the following bills, which we are closely watching: SB 944, proposing licensing requirements upon appraisers and appraisal umpires; SB 1038 and HB 1218, proposing a statute concerning assignments of benefits; and SB 1218, proposing licensing requirements on those who perform water damage restoration and prohibiting policy provisions that preclude post-loss assignments of benefits.

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August 22, 2016 BLOG POSTA Synergistic Team: How to Help Us Help You

Butler's principles create cooperative relationships, with both parties working towards a common goal.

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June 24, 2016 BLOG POSTTreading Water: Florida Office of the Insurance Consumer Advocate Holds Forum on Florida's Ongoing Water Loss Crisis

The state of water loss claims abuses in Florida, the water loss marketplace, and water loss damage claims on a national scale were presented by the Division of Insurance Fraud, Bureau of Property & Casualty, and the National Insurance Crime Bureau, respectively. 

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June 07, 2016 BLOG POSTProposals For Settlement Must Strictly Follow the Rules

Looking to the rule itself, the requirement concerning attorney’s fees is that the proposal shall “state whether the proposal includes attorneys’ fees and whether attorneys’ fee are part of the legal claim.” (Emphasis added).

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Community

June 20, 2016 COMMUNITYTampa Recipient of Butler "Step-Up" Award Selected

Suha Zeineladbin receives Step-Up award in Tampa.

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June 13, 2016 COMMUNITYChicago Recipient of Butler "Step-Up" Award Selected

Aide Briseno receives Step-Up award in Chicago.

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June 06, 2016 COMMUNITYMiami Recipient of Butler "Step-Up" Award Selected

Rebecca Gomez awarded Step-Up award in Miami.

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May 31, 2016 COMMUNITYTallahassee Recipient of Butler "Step-Up" Award Selected

Ruth Castro selected as Tallahassee "Step-Up" award winner.

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May 25, 2016 COMMUNITYPhiladelphia Recipient of Butler "Step-Up" Award Selected

Penn Treaty High School senior receives Step-Up Award.

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May 16, 2016 COMMUNITYCharlotte Recipient of Butler "Step-Up" Award Selected

West Charlotte High School senior receives Step-Up Award.

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May 06, 2016 COMMUNITYButler's First "Step-Up" Award Furthers Commitment to Service

The Firm's Community Service Committee enacts new award recognizing deserving high school seniors.

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Events

April 17, 2016 EVENTPLRB Claims Conference & Insurance Services Expo

Denials, Denial Letters and Documents

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March 29, 2015 EVENTPLRB Claims Conference

Denials, Denial Letters, and Documentation.

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March 16, 2014 EVENT2014 PLRB Claims Conference

Actual Cash Value

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March 17, 2013 EVENTPLRB Claims Conference

Actual Cash Value

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News

March 10, 2017 NEWSDiane Barnes-Reynolds is a member of the PLRB Claims Conference Committee

Diane Barnes-Reynolds is a member of the PLRB Claims Conference Committee which hosts the event in Boston, Massachusetts on March 26th

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June 20, 2016 NEWSTampa Recipient of Butler "Step-Up" Award Selected

Suha Zeineladbin receives Step-Up award in Tampa.

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Key Points
Practice Area CASE TYPE
  • BOP
  • Civil Remedy Notices
  • Coverage - First Party Property
  • Coverage - Homeowner's
  • Coverage - Inland Marine
  • Coverage - Property
  • Excess Coverage
  • Insurance Fraud