Insurer suing City of Miami to avoid paying legal fees in Joe Carollo lawsuits – NBC 6 South Florida

An insurance company is suing the city of Miami to avoid having to pay the legal costs associated with the defense of multiple lawsuits filed against Commissioner Joe Carollo.

QBE Specialty Insurance Company filed the suit Monday in federal court against the city, the city manager and others, as they seek a declaration that they have no duty to defend Carollo or the city in the lawsuits.

Carollo was found liable last year in a federal civil lawsuit brought by two Miami businessmen, Bill Fuller and Martin Pinilla, who accused him of trying to destroy their businesses as political retaliation.

The jury awarded Fuller and Pinilla more than $63 million.

In its lawsuit, QBE said the costs of defending the city in that lawsuit and others has surpassed $10 million.

In making its argument against paying the legal fees, QBE says doing so would go against the city’s policy, since there is no negligence alleged in the lawsuits.

“None of the Underlying Lawsuits allege negligence as an alternate basis of liability. They are all predicated solely upon allegations of deliberate, willful conduct that was intended to deprive plaintiffs of their property and harm plaintiffs’ reputations to punish and retaliate against plaintiffs for their support of Carollo’s political opponent,” the suit reads.

The suit goes on to say that Carollo’s alleged conduct is “uninsurable as a matter of public policy in Florida.”

“As such, QBE has no duty to defend the City or any of those individual defendants in the Underlying Lawsuits and consequently there is no duty to indemnify them in the Underlying Lawsuits,” the suit reads.

The city released a statement on Wednesday about the suit.

“The City of Miami is aware of the lawsuit filed by QBE Specialty Insurance Company against it and other defendants. We are currently reviewing the complaint and will respond to it accordingly. At this time, the City cannot comment further on the specifics of the lawsuit,” the statement read.

Carollo is appealing the $63 million verdict, insisting he did nothing wrong.

In February, U.S. Marshals started the process to seize Carollo’s home and property to begin paying the judgment.

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