The Fourth District Court of Appeal has Per Curium Affirmed the trial court’s decision denying class action certification in a first party breach of contract case.  In Juvonen v. United Property and Casualty Insurance Company (Case No. 502010CA002171XXXXNB), the proposed class representative Plaintiffs sought class certification for all persons who insured their Florida home with a residential property insurance policy issued by United Property and Casualty Insurance Company (“UPC”), who submitted a claim from October 1, 2005 to the present, whose damage estimate from UPC included more than one trade but did not receive general contractor’s overhead and profit (“GCOP”), and who have not released UPC from claims arising from the property damage.

The trial court concluded that Plaintiffs’ failed to satisfy the numerosity requirement because there was no definitive testimony as to the number of putative class members, and of the proposed potential number of class members, there was no evidence that these proposed members’ damage estimates included more than one trade to repair their property, had not received payment for GCOP or have not agreed to release United from additional claims.

Further, Plaintiffs failed to satisfy the typicality requirement.  The trial court concluded that among the four proposed class representatives alone, there existed several unique defenses, such as judicial estoppel from a bankruptcy proceeding and accord and satisfaction, which could be unique among the putative class and could preoccupy the proposed representative Plaintiffs to the detriment of the proposed class.

In addition, Plaintiffs failed to satisfy the predominance requirement.  The trial court concluded that Plaintiffs failed to demonstrate that resolution of the class action is manageable without the need to conduct individualized “mini trials” for each class member’s claim.

Finally, for these same reasons, namely the consideration of multiple factors to determine whether the use of general contractor was “reasonably likely,” Plaintiffs failed to satisfy the superiority requirement.

This decision may have a chilling effect on the other class action suits in Florida seeking general contractor’s overhead and profit.