Confession of Judgment Doctrine
“[I]t is well settled that the payment of a previously denied claim following the initiation of an action for recovery, but prior to the issuance of a final judgment, constitutes the functional equivalent of a confession of judgment.” Johnson v. Omega Ins. Co., 200 So. 3d 1207, 1215 (Fla.2016).. Insurer paid after denial on a property insurance claim (sinkhole).
Fla. Stat. 627.428 provides that an incorrect denial of benefits, followed by a judgment or its equivalent of payment in favor of the insured, is sufficient for an insured to recover attorney’s fees
The confession-of-judgment doctrine “applies where the insurer has denied benefits the insured was entitled to, forcing the insured to file suit, resulting in the insurer’s change of heart and payment before judgment.” State Farm Fla. Ins. Co. v. Lorenzo, 969 So. 2d 393, 397 (Fla. 5th DCA 2007).
Not All Post Suit Payments Trigger an Entitlement
The Fourth DCA recently held that where an insurer valued a loss, issued payment, and was unaware of the insured’s disagreement with the damage valuation until the filing of the complaint, the insurer’s timely payment of an appraisal award during the litigation did not constitute a confession that the insurer breached the insurance policy. Goldman v. United Servs. Auto. Ass’n, 244 So. 3d 310, 311–12 (Fla. 4th DCA 2018).