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The Continuing Saga of Sebo v. American Home Assurance Company: The Second District Court of Appeal Rules on Remand

July 26, 2017

On July 20, 2017, the Second District Court of Appeal issued an order that closed its books on the Sebo appeal. Mr. Sebo made a homeowner’s claim to American Home contending construction deficiencies had allowed water to enter the residence at multiple points, causing, eventually, complete destruction of the residence. The trial court ruled the concurrent cause doctrine applied, and so that the combination of covered water damage and excluded faulty, inadequate and defective construction had resulted in coverage for the loss. 

On appeal, the Second District took the case in a different direction, holding that the efficient proximate cause doctrine applied, and remanded the matter back to the trial court for consideration of the claim under that different doctrine. 

The Florida Supreme Court granted review of the decision, sought by the homeowner, and quashed the opinion of the Second District, remanding the matter for further proceedings on other issues that were briefed, but not reached by, the two appellate courts.

On July 20, 2017, the Second District Court of Appeal issued an order that adopted the Supreme Court opinion as to its own, reversed the judgment of the trial court, and remanded the matter to the lower tribunal for further proceedings in accordance with the decision of the Florida Supreme Court. 

The takeaway for lawyers faced with questions as to whether the Concurrent Cause Rule or the Efficient Proximate Cause Rule applies, you need only consult the opinion of the Florida Supreme Court to divine your answer. And, while closer, the case is not quite at the end of its road. The saga continues..