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A Partner at Butler, John Garaffa practices in our Construction, Coverage Defense, and Cyber Losses departments. He has extensive experience with construction defect litigation and cyber coverage and defense.

John has written widely on first-party bad faith, punitive damages, discovery disputes, and on the application of state valued policy laws to property losses in Florida and other Gulf Coast states. He has also served as the Vice-Chair of the Property Insurance Law General Committee within the Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section of the American Bar Association.

John received his Doctor of Jurisprudence from the University of Minnesota, cum laude, in 1982 and his Master of Laws degree, with distinction, from Georgetown University in 1991. Prior to joining the firm in 2003, John served on active duty for twenty-one years as a member of the Judge Advocate Generals Corps, United States Navy, retiring as a Captain.

Admissions

  • Florida
  • Minnesota

Education

  • University of Wisconsin
    Bachelor of Business Administration
  • University of Minnesota, College of Law
    Doctor of Jurisprudence
  • Georgetown University, College of Law
    Master of Laws

Memberships

  • American Bar Association – Chair Elect of the Property Insurance Law Committee
  • Defense Research Institute – Board Member Veterans Network
  • Defense Research Institute (DRI)
  • Property and Liability Research Bureau
  • Southern Loss Association (SLA)

Courts

  • Florida Courts (Northern, Middle and Southern Districts)
  • Florida State Courts
  • Minnesota State Courts
  • United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims
  • United States Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals

Media

Defining Occurrence – When Policy Definitions Do Not Apply To All Coverages

On September 8, 2020 the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit issued its decision in Port Consolidated, Inc. v. International Insurance Company of Hannover, PLC, 2020 WL 5372281 (11th Cir 2020). The decision is notable for two reasons.   First, the Court addressed whether definitions in an endorsement to a policy can be applied to coverage arising under different policy forms...

John Garaffa Appointed To Property Insurance Law General Committee

Congratulations to Partner John Garaffa for his appointment as Chair for the Property Insurance Law General Committee. This appointment will be for the 2020-2021 bar year. This leadership appointment recognizes his experience and commitment to the Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section (TIPS). To learn more about the American Bar Association committees, click here....

Silent Cyber Exposure

Join Partner John Garaffa and co-presenters Alexander Goecke (Envista Forensics), Jeff Pope (Starr Indemnity & Liability Company), Jorge Santeiro (FCCI Insurance Group) as they present "Silent Cyber Exposure" at the 2020 CLM Cyber, Management & Professional Liability Conference. This presentation will take place on July 10, 2020 at the Sheraton Boston Hotel. This session will address the ...

Covid-19—When Civil Authorities Take Over, Are You Covered?

This article is originally a publication of International Risk Management Institute on March 2020. Legal opinions may vary when based on subtle factual differences. All rights reserved. The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a respiratory disease that can result in serious illness or death. It is caused by a new strain of coronavirus not previously identified in humans and easily spreads from person...

Coronavirus and Property Insurance Policies

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a respiratory disease that can result in serious illness or death. The virus has spread to every state in the United States prompting a variety of responses by federal, state and local governments. Those actions have included orders mandating or recommending social distancing, limiting the number of people who can be in a public venue, closure of restaurants and...

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New Appleman Florida Insurance Law (2020 Edition)

JOHN V. GARAFFA, SARAH R. BURKE, RYAN K. HILTON, JULIUS F. "RICK" PARKER III, JASON M. SEITZ, J. BLAKE HUNTER, CAROL M. ROONEY, JAMES MICHAEL SHAW, JR. The 2020 Edition of the New Appleman Florida Insurance Law is now available. This book was edited by Partner John Garaffa and co-authored by Partners Sarah Burke, Ryan Hilton, Julius "Rick" Parker III, Carol Rooney, Jason Seitz, James Michael Sh...

The Property Insurance Adjuster’s Workflow And Processes

We are excited to be a part of the Windstorm Insurance Network 2020 Conference in Orlando, Florida. The annual Windstorm Insurance Conference (WIND) is a three-day conference for the property insurance claims industry. See speaker details below: The Property Insurance Adjuster’s Work- Flow And Processes—Analyzing Steps And Best Practices Of Insurance Claim Handling  Presenter: John Gara...

Butler Proud to Sponsor 2019 DRI Annual Meeting

Butler is proud to be a sponsor for the Defense and Research Institute (DRI) Annual Meeting on October 16, 2019, in New Orleans, Louisiana. This program will give attendees the opportunity to: Experience outstanding educational programming on timely topics to include the ever-changing world and developing legal topics to stay ahead of the game. Earn up to 10 hours of CLE credit including u...

HCBA Diversity & Inclusion Networking Social

Butler is proud to sponsor the 2019 HCBA Diversity Committee's annual networking event. Partners William Linero, Jr., Thomas Keller and John Garaffa and Associates Abraham Shakfeh (as co-chair of the HCBA Diversity Committee), Liandra Izquierdo, Juliana Cortes and Suzanne DeCopain attended in support of connecting local law students with members of Tampa's legal organizations. The HCBA Diversi...

Erosion Of The Direct Physical Loss Requirement

Partner John Garaffa and co-presenter Tred Eyerly presented the topic "Erosion of the Direct Physical Loss Requirement" for the ABA Property Insurance Law Annual Spring CLE Conference. This took place in Austin, TX on May 10, 2019.  The panel discussed new forms and coverages presently available and how courts have construed standard policy language as it relates to increasingly intangible losse...

Butler Awarded the 2018 Tvc Chairman’s Award

Butler has been awarded the 2018 TVC Chairman's Award in recognition for our service provided to veterans and their families. For almost two decades, the Butler Weihmuller Katz Craig LLP Pro Bono team has performed outreach for TVC National Volunteer Corps training events in Florida as well as directly serve veterans in need through the federal Veterans Pro Bono Program. Doug Berry and John Garaf...

John Garaffa “Business Interruption And Damage Claims”

Partner John Garaffa wrote a chapter titled "Business Interruption and Damage Claims" for the 5th Edition of The Complete Guide to Economic Damages. This text is a collaboration with numerous authors to provide a  resource for financial experts and attorneys seeking guidance on damage calculations. An excerpt of the text is attached. Visit bvresources to learn more. ARTICLE LINK »...

Southern Loss Association’s Annual Property Seminar

Join Partner John Garaffa as he presents "Adjuster Ethics"  on Thursday, August 9, 2018 at the Southern Loss Association's 26th Annual Property Seminar....

2018 Hillsborough County Bar Association’s Annual Diversity Networking Social

Every year, we are excited to sponsor the Hillsborough County Bar Association’s Annual Diversity Networking Social. This HCBA Tampa Bay event allows us to meet up-and-coming law students and new lawyers with diverse backgrounds.  At Butler, we develop strong leaders who are active in their communities and dedicated to Service, Teamwork and Principles. Our attorneys are honored to make connecti...

Florida Insurance Litigation (2017 Edition)

LexisNexis Practice Guide: Florida Insurance Litigation provides the practitioner with immediate access to knowledge and strategy on every aspect of insurance practice in Florida. The publication concisely presents the terms, conditions and exclusions that govern coverage offered against the risks under each line of insurance. This approach provides a comprehensive exploration of key concepts, pol...

Important Reminders for Adjusting Hurricane Claims

The number of claims arising from a significant wind event such as Hurricane Irma can create intense time pressure on insurers and their adjusters. The insurer must promptly acknowledge each claim and make prompt inspection. Given the anticipated number of claims, the adjusters need to make that inspection as thorough as possible. Our experience has taught us that the following steps increase the ...

Hurricane Irma Policy Laws by State

This weekend Hurricane Irma, a Category 5 Hurricane, is expected to subject South Florida to potentially catastrophic wind, rain and storm surge and then move north along the Atlantic coast of the United States. Irma is the strongest storm ever recorded in the Atlantic, outside the Gulf of Mexico or the Caribbean. It has also set a record for the amount of wind energy recorded over a 24-hour perio...

That Sinking Feeling: Sinkholes, Florida Law, and Some Questions Raised by The Recent Collapse in Land O’ Lakes

The recent catastrophic ground cover collapse in Land O’Lakes attributed to a sinkhole highlights the unique aspects of Florida geology and the impact it can have on the risks faced by building owners and their insurers. In central and western Florida, the land generally consists of a layer of limestone topped by layers of clays and sands. The limestone is a vestige of the shells and skeletons o...

Ransomware is taking the world by storm; does insurance respond?

On June 27, 2017, the world had its second major ransomware attack in two months, and experts are predicting more to come. The first, named WannaCry, began May 12, and quickly spread to over 400,000 machines, the vast majority of which were using outdated Windows operating systems. Within one day the virus was in 150 countries. Within four days the damages were estimated at over a billion dollars....

John Garaffai is Now the Committee Chair for the Tips Property Insurance Law Committee

Partner John Garaffa was selected to become the Committee Chair for the TIPS Property Insurance Law Committee for the years 2020—2021. TIPS is the Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section of the American Bar Association. John Garaffa is a member of the Property Insurance Committee and was elected to become the Committee Chair at the TIPS section conference in April. Congratulations, John!...

Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Law Journal, Winter 2017

This information or any portion thereof may not be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or downloaded or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of the American Bar Association. I. Business Interruption/Civil Authority In National Union Fire Insurance Co. of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania v. Trans-Canada Energy USA, Inc.,1 the insurers s...

Aba Spring Meeting – Whose Money Is It? Recognizing Insurable Interests, Lienholders, And Others

John Garaffa from Butler Weihmuller Katz Craig along with co-presenter Rabih Hamadi presented in Orlando, FL at the ABA Spring Meeting on the topic of "Whose Money is it? Recognizing Insurable Interest, Lienholders, and Others" on April 7, 2017. This session asked and helped to answer the very practical question of who – along with, or in lieu of, the named insured – is a rightful payee w...

6th Annual Cyber Liabilities Insurance Execusummit – After The Breach: Response And Subrogation Strategy

John V. Garaffa from Butler Weihmuller Katz Craig along with Mathew Scott and Hillard M. Sterling, were panelists in Uncasville, CT at the 6th Annual Cyber Liabilities Insurance ExecuSummit on the topic of "After the Breach: Response and Subrogation Strategy" on March 21, 2017. ...

Safeguarding Every Veteran’s Benefits: Lessons from Bruce V. Mcdonald, 2017 Wl 57172

On January 5, 2017, the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims rejected the assertion by the Veteran’s Administration (VA) and the Board of Veterans Appeals (the Board) that a service member who requested a discharge in Lieu of Court Martial after an unauthorized absence of 42 days was barred from seeking veteran’s benefits for an injury he had suffered on active duty. The Court’...

John Garaffa Earns Veterans Network Meritorious Service Award!

At their Annual Meeting each year, the Defense Research Institute (DRI) selects a recipient for the Veterans Network Meritorious Service Award. The recipient must be a DRI member who has served honorably as a member of the United States Armed Forces or the United States Coastguard and has distinguished him or herself by exemplary service to other veterans, their country, foreign jurisdictions or i...

John Garaffa Authors a Chapter in Latest Edition of “the Comprehensive Guide to Economic Damages”

Now in its fourth edition, The Comprehensive Guide to Economic damages includes a chapter authored by Butler's own John Garaffa. The guide serves as a deep resource for financial experts and attorneys seeking guidance on damage calculations. A digital download of the publication is available here, and physical copies will be released later in May....

Recent Developments In Property Insurance Coverage Litigation

This article was originally published in the Winter edition of the American Bar Association's Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Law Journal, published with permission. This information or any portion thereof may not be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or downloaded or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of the American Bar As...

John V. Garaffa Recently Authored “When the Policy Follows the Property: The Challenges Posed by Mortgagee Rights.”

John V. Garaffa recently authored “When the Policy Follows the Property: The Challenges Posed by Mortgagee Rights” published in the New Appleman on Insurance’s Current Critical Issues in Insurance Law Fall 2015. Published by LexisNexis, Appleman on Insurance has long been considered a comprehensive resource in the field of insurance law. It is showcased by LexisNexis as an “authoritative a...

When Revenge Is Not So “Sweet”: The Wages of “Revenge Porn” under Florida’s New Cyber Harassment Statute

The internet has proven to be a boon for commerce and, sadly, yet another vehicle for some to lash out and victimize others. An example of the latter has been the spate of postings of previously private photos and videos of former loved ones either naked or engaged in sexual activity. The embarrassment for those depicted is immediate and, given the nature of the worldwide web, can be a rather perm...

Rimkus 12th Annual Continuing Education Seminar

John Garaffa and Matt Peaire will be presenting at RIMKUS' 12th Annual Continuing Education Seminar in Tampa, FL. John and Matt's topic is, "Subrogation & Cyber Liability Insurance: 2015 Update."...

American Bar Association Spring Meeting

John Garaffa spoke on a panel at the American Bar Association Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section's Property Insurance Law Committee Spring meeting in San Antonio, Texas May 7th—9th, 2015.  The focus of the meeting was "From Claim To Verdict: Litigating The Complex Commercial Property Insurance Claim." John's topic will be "The Claim Determination."...

The Absolute Pollution Exclusion: Pollution And Fungus, Wet Rot, Dry Rot, And Bacteria

The history of the pollution exclusion clause in its early forms demonstrates that its purpose was to serve as a broad exclusion for traditional environmentally related damages. The terms of the absolute pollution exclusion suggest that its reach extends well beyond those losses. However, some state and federal courts have cited the early history of the exclusion to narrow its application to tradi...

Threat of Future Harm as a result of a Cyber Breach May be Sufficient to Confer Standing

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California has ruled that the threat of future harm alleged in a class action complaint is sufficient "injury" to satisfy the "case or controversy" requirement of Article III of the United States Constitution. The order denying the defendant's motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction allows the class action lawsuit in In re Adob...

When It Comes to Sinkholes, Contracts, Statutes and Regulations Do Matter

On August 21, 2014, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit vacated the decision of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida in Shelton v. Liberty Mutual, Case number 13-15371 / D.C. Docket No. 8:12-cv-02064-JSM-AEP. This decision confirms that the statutory definitions for structural damage under the May 17, 2011 amendments to the Florida sinkhole statutes a...

Florida Defines How Certain Commercial Entities Must Handle Personal Information

Effective July 1, 2014, Florida enacted what some have described as one of the country’s most detailed and comprehensive statutes governing the duties of commercial entities that acquire, maintain, store, or use personal information, including potential penalties related to the loss of such data. Rather than simply amending the previous provision, Florida Statute 817.5681, the Florida Legislatur...

Business Interruption And Damage Claims

The chapter written by John Garaffa was originally published in, The Comprehensive Guide to Lost Profits and Other Commercial Damages, Third Edition. Copyright © 2014 Business Valuation Resources, LLC.  Business interruption insurance is a class of coverage that is intended to protect the business owner from potential income loss that can flow from damage to insured property. Such property ca...

Mind The Gap: Weathering The Statutory Notification Process When A Data Breach Occurs

Even before Edward Snowden and the NSA entered into the public conversation, data breach concerns abounded. For instance, a recent study conducted by the Ponemon Institute surveyed 4,774 IT and IT security professionals from nine countries- U.S., UK, France, Germany, Japan, China, India, Australia, and Brazil - and revealed that 60 percent of companies had a network security breach in the last yea...

Property Insurance Law Committee Annual Spring Cle Meeting

John Garaffa spoke at the American Bar Association's Property Insurance Law Committee Annual Spring CLE Meeting on May 17, 2013, in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. John spoke on "Pollution and Fungus, Wet Rot, Dry Rot and Bacteria."...

Bullock V. Philip Morris Usa, Inc.: Where ‘Reprehensibility’ As An Exception To Constitutional Protections And The Ratio Guidepost Includes The Wealth Of The Defendant

On November 30, 2011, the California Supreme Court exercised its discretion and let stand a $13.8 million punitive damage award that was more than 16 times the compensatory damages awarded by the jury. The case, Bullock v. Philip Morris, 1 (Bullock) involved a smoker diagnosed with lung cancer who filed suit against the cigarette manufacturer, seeking damages based on products liability, fraud, an...

Determining Coverage In Property Insurance Policies- New Appleman On Insurance Law Library Edition, Chapter 42

Abstract Of Chapter 42 This chapter addresses the issues that can govern whether the loss or damage to particular property falls within the coverage provided by an insurance contract.  As in a news story, the critical questions affecting coverage for loss or damage to property under an insurance policy are "who," "what," "where," "when," and "how." When addressing a claim for indemnity for the...

Tampa Association Of Insurance Professionals

John Garaffa and Jerry Albrecht presented on the 2011 changes to Florida Statutes.  They spoke to the monthly meeting of the Tampa Association of Insurance Professionals (TAIP)....

Homewise Claims Conference

John Garaffa spoke at HomeWise Claims Conference about recent Florida cases....

We Said What We Meant And We Meant What We Said! — Enforcing Contract Language Despite Assertions Of Bad Faith And Insurer ‘Misconduct’ During The Adjustment Of The Claim

This is one of a series of articles originally published in Mealey's Litigation Report: Insurance Bad Faith, Vol. 24, #10 (September 23, 2010). © 2010   [Editor's Note: John V. Garaffa is a Partner and Jason M. Seitz is an associate with the law firm of Butler Weihmuller Katz Craig LLP in Tampa, Florida.  Any commentary or opinions do not reflect the opinions of Butler or Mealey's Publicat...

A New Profit Center In The Economic Downturn

Litigation concerning benefits for business interruption is seldom an exciting spectator sport. However, Safeguard Storage Properties LLC v. Donahue Favret Contractors, Inc., an ongoing case in the civil district court in New Orleans, has the potential to put Louisiana jurisprudence at the center of the legal map. A New Profit Center in the Economic Downturn...

When Does It End? The Claim For Unlimited Business Interruption

This is one of a series of articles under "Property Insurance Law Committee" originally published in ABA Committee News, Winter 2010...

How Speculative Is Speculative? Testing The Limits Of Business Interruption Coverage

This is one of a series of articles under "Property Insurance Law Committee" originally published in ABA Committee News, Winter 2010...

Writ Of Certiorari Dismissed As Improvidently Granted — The Ambiguous End To Philip Morris Usa, Inc. V. Williams

This is one of a series of articles originally published in Mealey's Litigation Report: Insurance Bad Faith, Vol. 23, #6, page 37 (July 30, 2009). © 2009 [Editor's Note: John V. Garaffa is a senior associate with the law firm of Butler Weihmuller Katz Craig LLP with offices in Tampa, Tallahassee, Miami, Mobile, and Charlotte.  He devotes his practice to the litigation of property coverage issu...

Exxon Shipping Co. V. Baker: Sailing Into The Confluence Of Common Law And Constitutional Standards For Punitive Damages

This is one of a series of articles originally published in Mealey's Litigation Report: Insurance Bad Faith, Vol. 22, #6, page 26 (July 15, 2008). © 2008 [Editor's Note: John V. Garaffa is a senior associate with the law firm of Butler Weihmuller Katz Craig LLP with offices in Tampa, Tallahassee, Miami, Mobile, and Charlotte. He devotes his practice to the litigation of property coverage issues....

Louisiana Supreme Court Cites Butler Attorney John Garaffa As Authority on Gulf Coast Valued Policy Laws.

Louisiana Supreme Court cites Butler attorney John Garaffa as an authority on Gulf Coast valued policy laws. THE UNCERTAIN SCOPE OF "HURRICANE DAMAGE" UNDER STATE VALUED POLICY LAWS...

Ethics: Concerns About Lawyer Competency In The Brave New World Of Electronic Discovery

Introduction As one court has characterized it, "a ‘certificate of admission to the bar' is a pilot's license which authorizes its possessor to assume full control of the important affairs of others and to guide and safeguard them when, without such assistance, they would be helpless."  In re Discipline of Laprath, 670 N.W.2d 41 (S.D. 2003).  While the freedom suggested by that imagery might ...

Williams V. Philip Morris Inc. Ii – The Fog Of Legal Rationale

This is one of a series of articles under the by line "Butler on Bad Faith" originally published in Mealey's Litigation Report: Insurance Bad Faith, Vol. 21, #4, p. 32 (June 19, 2007). [Editor's Note: John V. Garaffa is a senior associate with the Law Firm of Butler Weihmuller Katz Craig LLP with offices in Miami, Mobile, Tallahassee, and Tampa. He devotes his practice to the litigation of proper...

Remanded In Light Of State Farm V. Campbell: The Opportunity For Further Illumination Presented By Williams V. Philip Morris Inc

This is one of a series of articles under the by line "Butler on Bad Faith" originally published in Mealey's Litigation Report: Insurance Bad Faith, Vol. 20, #10, p. 32 (September 19, 2006). [Editor's Note: John V. Garaffa is a senior associate with the Law Firm of Butler Weihmuller Katz Craig LLP with offices in Miami, Mobile, Tallahassee, and Tampa. He devotes his practice to the litigation of ...

The Uncertain Scope Of “Hurricane Damage” Under State Valued Policy Laws

State Valued Policy Laws, 41 Tort Trial & Ins. Prac. L.J. 943 (Spring 2006).  © 2006 Reprinted by permission.  This information or any portion thereof may not be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or downloaded or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of the American Bar Association. I.  Introduction The 200...

Florida’s “Valued Policy” Law – The Eye Of The Storm

Hurricanes Charley, Frances, Ivan, and Jeanne have once again brought Florida insurance law under the microscope. In the midst of this examination is Florida's valued policy law. For most insureds and their attorneys, there is an expectation that insurance will be available to return the insured's property to its pre-storm condition. Unfortunately, even for professionals, there are common misconce...

Piece Of Mind: The Utah Supreme Court’s Response To Campbell

This is one of a series of articles under the by line “Butler on Bad Faith” originally published in Mealey's Litigation Report: Insurance Bad Faith, Vol. 18, #18, p. 25 (January 18, 2005). © Copyright Butler 2005. Introduction Given that the Utah Supreme Court (“Utah”) previously reinstated a $145 million punitive damages award in favor of the Campbells, it is not surprising that on rem...

The Continuing Need For De Novo Review Of Punitive Damage Awards — Liggett Group, Inc. V. Engle

This is one of a series of articles under the by line "Butler on Bad Faith" originally published in Mealey's Litigation Report: Insurance Bad Faith, Vol. 18, #5, p. 29 (July 7, 2004). © Copyright Butler 2004. In Liggett Group Inc. v. Engle,(1) the Florida's Third District Court of Appeal reversed the largest punitive damage award in history. The circumstances of the award indicate it would hav...

Reflections – Thirty Years After Gruenberg V. Aetna Ins. Co.

This is one of a series of articles under the by line "Butler on Bad Faith" originally published in Mealey's Litigation Report: Insurance Bad Faith, Vol. 17, #8, p. 17 (August 13, 2003). © Copyright Butler 2003. It has long been accepted that parties to an insurance contract have an obligation to deal with each other fairly and in good faith.(1) As early as 1914, this obligation was found to be ...

John Garaffa