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United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit.

Derrick MCGOWAN individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. FIRST ACCEPTANCE INSURANCE COMPANY, INC., a Texas corporation, Defendant-Appellee.

No. 19-13485

Decided: December 18, 2020

Before WILSON, GRANT, and TJOFLAT, Circuit Judges. Edmund A. Normand, Jacob Phillips, Normand, PLLC, Orlando, FL, Scott Adam Edelsberg, Edelsberg Law, PA, Aventura, FL, Christopher J. Lynch, Law Office of Christopher J. Lynch, PA, Miami, FL, Andrew John Shamis, Shamis & Gentile, PA, Miami, FL, for Plaintiff - Appellant Alyssa Lynn Cory, Erik R. Matheney, Shutts & Bowen, LLP, Tampa, FL, Frank A. Zacherl, III, Shutts & Bowen, LLP, Miami, FL, for Defendant - Appellee

First Acceptance Insurance Company concedes that Derrick McGowan's position in this appeal is correct in light of Gravitystorm, LLC v. Old Dominion Ins. Co., 304 So. 3d 8 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2020), and requests that we vacate the order on appeal and remand for further proceedings.

We agree that the district court's order compelling appraisal of McGowan's claim is inconsistent with Florida precedent. Under Florida law, courts—not appraisers—decide questions concerning the interpretation of an insurance policy. Johnson v. Nationwide Mut. Ins. Co., 828 So. 2d 1021, 1025 (Fla. 2002). Here, the disputed issue of whether the policy's term “actual cash value” includes sales tax, title transfer fees, and registration transfer fees is a question of policy interpretation for the court. Gravitystorm, 304 So. 3d at 9. The district court therefore erred in sending this question to appraisal.

We accordingly vacate the district court's order and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.



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