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Matthew J. Lavisky is a Partner in the Tampa office. He focuses the majority of his practice on the defense of bad faith and other extra-contractual matters, first-party property claims, and insurance coverage disputes. Matt represents insurers in state and federal trial and appellate courts throughout Florida. Matt has achieved considerable success for Butler’s clients, including:

  • Summary judgment in a “Powell” bad faith case, affirmed on appeal by the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals;
  • Dismissal with prejudice in a homeowner’s bad faith case where the plaintiff alleged the insurer was required to pay attorney’s fees in response to a Civil Remedy Notice;
  • Dismissal with prejudice in a homeowner’s bad faith case after a full day evidentiary hearing, affirmed on appeal by the Second District Court of Appeal;
  • Jury verdict for the insurer in a third-party bad faith case, affirmed on appeal by the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals holding an insurer has no duty to enter into a Cunningham agreement;
  • Partial summary judgment in favor of insurer on issue of liability in lawsuit by insurer seeking defense and indemnity from tenant of named insured;
  • Dismissal with prejudice of third-party bad faith claim based on lack of coverage;
  • Summary judgment in uninsured motorist bad faith case regarding claim for attorney’s fees for work done during the uninsured motorist action.

Matt is active in defense organizations. He serves on the board of directors for the Florida Defense Lawyers Association and was honored with the President’s Award in 2019 and the James A. Dixon Young Lawyer of the Year Award in 2013. Matt was the chair of the first annual Florida Insurance Network Symposium sponsored by FDLA. He also served for six years as chair of the editorial board for the Trial Advocate Quarterly, FDLA’s legal journal. Matt has presented at FDLA conferences and webinars. He also is involved in the Defense Research Institute. In 2019, Matt received the G. Duffield Smith Outstanding Publication Award for a publication he co-authored with Toni Frain. He currently serves as the chair of the Transportation Substantive Law Group, has published in For the Defense, and presented at the Insurance Coverage Practice Symposium.

Matt is an AV peer-rated attorney by Martindale-Hubbell. He also is a graduate of the 2014 International Association of Defense Counsel Trial Academy held at Stanford University. In his spare time, Matt enjoys coaching baseball for the Palma Ceia Little League.

Admissions

  • Florida

Recognitions

  • DRI 2018 G. Duffield Smith Outstanding Publication Award
  • Florida Defense Lawyers Association 2013 James A. Dixon Young Lawyer of the Year Award
  • Florida Defense Lawyers Association 2015 Trial Advocate Quarterly Award
  • FLORIDA DEFENSE LAWYERS ASSOCIATION 2019 PRESIDENT’S AWARD

Education

  • University of Central Florida
    Bachelor of Science
  • Barry University School of Law
    Doctor of Jurisprudence

Memberships

  • Christian Legal Society (CLS)
  • Defense Research Institute (DRI)
  • Federalist Society
  • Florida Defense Lawyers Association (FDLA)
  • Hillsborough County Bar Association (HCBA)

Courts

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

Experiences

Forthuber v. First Liberty Ins. Corp., 2018 WL 4635639 (M.D. Fla. 2018) – order dismissing, with prejudice, lawsuit for first-party bad faith arising out of a property insurance claim.

Aviation One of Florida, Inc. v. Airborne Ins. Consultants (PTY), Ltd, 722 Fed. Appx. 870 (11th Cir. 2018) – opinion affirming order of dismissal under the doctrine of forum non conveniens based on forum-election clause.

Welford v. Liberty Mut. Ins. Co., 713 Fed. Appx. 969 (11th Cir. 2017) – summary judgment in third-party Powell bad faith case affirmed on appeal.

Liberty Mut. Fire Ins. Co. v. Wal-Mart Stores E., LP, 269 F. Supp. 3d 1254 (M.D. Fla. 2017) – partial summary judgment in subrogation action finding tenant of insured breached duty to indemnify insured.

MSPA Claims 1, LLC v. First Acceptance Ins. Co., 2016 WL 4523850 (S.D. Fla. 2016) – order dismissing class action complaint for lack of standing.

Kropilak v. 21st Century Ins. Co., 806 F.3d 1062 (11th Cir. 2015) – jury verdict in favor of insurer in third-party bad faith case, affirmed on appeal, holding insurer has no duty to enter into a Cunningham agreement and no duty to its insured to enter into a consent judgment in excess of the limits of its policy.

Helt v. Liberty Ins. Corp., 153 F.Supp.3d 1388 (M.D. Fla. 2015) – order dismissing, with prejudice, count for third-party bad faith.

Altrui v. State Farm Fla. Ins. Co., 2014 WL 11394450 (Fla. 6th Cir. 2014) aff’d 192 So. 3d 477 (Fla. 2d DCA 2016) – order dismissing, with prejudice, lawsuit for first-party bad faith in sinkhole claim after evidentiary hearing.

Colella v. State Farm Fla. Ins. Co., 95 So. 3d 891 (Fla. 2d DCA 2012) – opinion reversing order finding insurer had confessed judgment and breached contract in sinkhole claim where insured had not provided competing engineer report before filing lawsuit.

Wild Enters., Inc. v. Assur. Co. of Am., 2011 WL 3802246 (Fla. 4th Cir. 2011) – order granting summary judgment in first-party bad faith action because insured had not satisfied condition precedent to suit.

Media

From AOBs to Bad Faith – Past and Potential Legislation

Join Partner Matthew Lavisky and co-presenter Michael Beltran (Ansa Assuncao LLP) as they present “From AOBs to Bad Faith: Past and Potential Legislation” for the Florida Insurance Network Symposium (FINS) on October 6, 2020....

Local Florida Governments have Issued Orders Suggesting Covid-19 caused Property Damage

DOES THIS MATTER FOR INSURANCE POLICY INTERPRETATION? Florida Governor Ron DeSantis issued an Executive Order declaring a state of emergency due to COVID-19.  Many Florida cities and counties have issued their own orders to reduce the spread of the virus.  At least two of the orders contained language that was curious to those connected to the property insurance industry. Broward County Emerge...

Butler Sponsors DRI Insurance Coverage and Practice Symposium

Butler is proud to be a sponsor for the Defense and Research Institute (DRI) Insurance Coverage and Practice Symposium on December 5, 2019, in New York, New York. This year’s symposium will give attendees the opportunity to: Engage with a distinguished faculty of insurance industry leaders, experts, and coverage lawyers. Be informed on emerging issues, recent court rulings, national trend...

Partner Matt Lavisky Awarded the G. Duffield Smith Outstanding Publication Award

Partner Matt Lavisky and Toni Frain of Liberty Mutual have been awarded the G. Duffield Smith Outstanding Publication Award at the 2019 DRI Annual Meeting. They received the prestigious award for their article titled “Fighting Removal Spoiler Claims Against Adjusters, Attorneys, and Agents in Bad Faith Lawsuits” which was published in DRI's For The Defense publication in 2018. ...

Matthew Lavisky – Winner of the 2019 FDLA President’s Award

Join us in congratulating Partner Matthew Lavisky for winning the FDLA's 2019 President's Award. This award is presented annually by the Florida Defense Lawyers Association (FDLA) for outstanding service. The Florida Defense Lawyers Association (FDLA) is a state organization of Lawyers involved in the defense of civil litigation....

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Harvey V. Geico Gen. Ins. Co. – Where Do We Go From Here?

Anthony Russo, David Krouk, Matthew Lavisky and Mihaela Cabulea presented "Harvey v. GEICO Gen. Ins. Co. - How bad is it, and where do we go from here?" This presentation took place in Disney's Boardwalk Inn on June 6, 2019. This panel of experienced bad faith attorneys discussed the landscape of third-party bad faith claims in Florida following the Supreme Court's recent opinion in Harve...

Matthew Lavisky Named Event Chair for Fins

Partner Matt Lavisky has been named Event Chair for the FDLA's first annual Florida Insurance Network Symposium (FINS). Congratulations, Matt! This event will take place on August 15—16, 2019 at the Sheraton Tampa Riverwalk....

Why Butler? (Watch Video)

At Butler, we believe that meeting the client's expectations is one of the most important things we do. Watch the video to see how we strive towards excellent service every step of the way. Watch the video below. ...

Introducing the New Florida Supreme Court (from an Insurance Perspective)

Ron DeSantis, the newly sworn Governor of the State of Florida, was given a unique opportunity to remake the Florida Supreme Court within his first days of office. Three of the seven justices of the Florida Supreme Court were forced to step down in the first days of January 2019 due to mandatory retirement. Those justices were Barbara Pariente, Peggy Quince, and Fred Lewis. These three justices ge...

Fighting Removal Spoiler Claims Against Adjusters, Attorneys, And Agents In Bad-Faith Lawsuits

This article is originally a publication of the Defense Research Institute, October 2018. Legal opinions may vary when based on subtle factual differences. All rights reserved. Partner Matthew Lavisky wrote an article titled "Fighting Removal Spoiler Claims Against Adjusters, Attorneys, and Agents in Bad-Faith Lawsuits" for the DRI. This article discusses cases permitting and prohibiting lawsu...

Challenges and Strategies Defending Florida Property Insurance Claims – 2018 WEBINAR

Partner Matthew Lavisky held a discussion on Florida property insurance trends and recent case law. In this presentation, he covered topics including defenses to lawsuits for breach of contract and case law developments regarding first-party bad faith. Approved for 1.5 FL Bar Credits. This webinar was hosted by the Florida Defense Lawyers Association....

Matthew Lavisky Elected to the Board Of Directors for the Fdla

Congratulations to Partner Matthew Lavisky for being elected to the Board of Directors for the FDLA! The Florida Defense Lawyers Association was formed in April 1967 to represent the interests of lawyers in private practice whose focus was primarily the defense of civil matters. Over 1000 strong, FDLA now extends membership to lawyers employed by public agencies and private corporations. The FDLA...

Not so Fast! The Confession of Judgment Doctrine in Dispute-Over-Amount Cases

Florida law allows an insured to recover attorney’s fees if the insured prevails in a lawsuit against the insurer for insurance benefits. See § 627.428, Florida Statutes. The plain text of the statute requires a “judgment” against the insurer. In Wollard v. Lloyd's & Companies of Lloyd's, 439 So. 2d 217 (Fla. 1983), however, the Florida Supreme Court held that an insurer’s post-suit...

Nbi’s Advanced Insurance Bad Faith Seminar

Join Partner Matthew Lavisky as he presents Strategic Discovery in Bad Faith Lawsuits on Wednesday, August 15, 2018 at the National Business Institute's Advanced Insurance Bad Faith Seminar....

Good-Faith Claim Handling In Florida – Part Ii

This article is originally a publication of the Southern Loss Association's Newsletter, June 2018. Legal opinions may vary when based on subtle factual differences. All rights reserved. This article is a continuation of the "Good-Faith Claim Handling in Florida" article that appeared in the Southern Loss Association Newsletter in February 2018. That article discussed the history and background ...

Defending first-Party Property Bad Faith Lawsuits

Lawsuits for First-Party Property bad faith presented unique challenges to Florida insurers. In Part Two of this webinar series, common issues insurers face when defending these lawsuits have been discussed. We explored allegations commonly made by insureds and their attorneys to support bad faith lawsuits, the damages recoverable by a successful plaintiff, discovery, and strategies for defending...

Defending first-Party Property Bad Faith Lawsuits

Lawsuits for First-Party Property bad faith presented unique challenges to Florida insurers. In Part Two of this webinar series, common issues insurers face when defending these lawsuits have been discussed. We explored allegations commonly made by insureds and their attorneys to support bad faith lawsuits, the damages recoverable by a successful plaintiff, discovery, and strategies for defending...

First-Party Property Bad Faith in Florida – Podcast

Matthew Lavisky hosted a Webinar on the topic "First-Party Property Bad Faith in Florida".  Increasingly, property insurers in Florida are being sued for bad faith. What accounts for this increase? Mainly, it has been driven by recent appellate court decisions that have eroded and all but eliminated any prerequisites to bad faith actions. In part one of this two-part webinar series, we will out...

First-Party Property Bad Faith in Florida – Podcast

Increasingly, property insurers in Florida are being sued for bad faith. What accounts for this increase? Mainly, it has been driven by recent appellate court decisions that have eroded and all but eliminated any prerequisites to bad faith actions. In part one of this two-part webinar series, we will outline the legal environment created by those decisions; attempt to define “bad faith”; explo...

Good-Faith Claim Handling In Florida

This article is originally a publication of Southern Loss Association, Newsletter February 2018. Legal opinions may vary when based on subtle factual differences. All rights reserved. Like many states, Florida law allows a person under a first-party insurance contract to sue an insurer if the person has been damaged by certain actions often referred to as "bad-faith" claim handling practices. Th...

Duty to Initiate Settlement Negotiations Under Powell not Triggered Unless Liability is Clear

In a recent decision, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed an important order of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida in a so-called “Powell claim.” Welford v. Liberty Mutual Ins. Co., --- Fed. App’x ---, 2017 WL 5899784 (11th Cir. November 29, 2017). The District Court order can be found at Welford v. Liberty Ins. Corp., 190 F. Supp. 3d 1085 (N.D...

2017 Dri Insurance Coverage And Practice Symposium – Hot Topics In Problem Jurisdictions

Matthew Lavisky from Butler Weihmuller Katz Craig along with co-presenter Dan D. Kohane presented in New York, NY at the 2017 DRI Insurance Coverage and Practice Symposium on the topic of "Hot Topics in Problem Jurisdictions". The latest first and third-party challenges for insurers in Florida and New York, including partial disclaimers, “assignment of benefits,” additional insured obligati...

Existing Tools To Curb Runaway Attorney Fee Awards

This article is originally a publication of Trial Advocate Quarterly. Legal opinions may vary when based on subtle factual differences. All rights reserved. Florida provides one of the most generous insurance fee-shifting mechanisms in the nation.  The lure of a large attorney fee award has spawned the very litigation that the fee-shifting statute was intended to avoid.  It is common for atto...

Why Butler?

Watch as Partner Matthew Lavisky explains why Butler Weihmuller Katz Craig was his first choice. ...

Liability And Damages: Understanding Property Insurance Bad Faith Litigation In Florida

Florida recognizes two general categories of insurance bad faith: first-party and third-party. A cause of action for third-party bad faith exists at common law, but also may be brought under the Florida bad faith statute. The essence of a cause of action for third-party bad faith is that the insurer breached its duty to its insured by failing to properly or promptly defend claim, which resulted in...

Florida Defense Lawyers Association “Young Lawyer of the Year” Award

The firm is pleased to announce that Matt Lavisky has been awarded the FloridaDefenseLawyersAssociation "Young Lawyer of the Year" award. This year, Matt also served as chair of the editorial board for the FDLA Journal. Please join us in congratulating this well-deserved achievement. FLORIDA DEFENSE LAWYERS ASSOCIATION...

Matthew Lavisky