In the case of Coccaro v. GEICO (Case Number 4D19-3665) and Brown-Peterkin v. Williamson (4D19-2950)(November 12, 2020), Florida’s Fourth DCA did not certify that a class action case against GEICO for electronic UM rejections that do not comply with Florida law.
Importance of Case
While the Fourth DCA did not hold that thousands of people who may have rejected UM electronically form a class for purposes of a class action lawsuit, the court did outline the present status of this legal issue in the courts, which is an important step for anyone potentially litigating this issue or a similar issue.
In particular, the Fourth DCA points out that GEICO has changed its online UM rejection procedure twice since 2013. Customers from 2013 to 2016 were not required to view the M9 form (the rejection form itself) or to sign that form, but Fourth DCA states that the form does comply with Florida law.
However, in 2016, the Fourth DCA indicates that GEICO began displaying the M9 form without requiring the customer to click a hyperlink. They also say that the form was static and was pre-selected to reject UM coverage with the customer unable to change it. The Fourth DCA does not comment on that issue further, however, the inability to change the form and the pre-selection of a coverage rejection is what violates Florida law.
With regard to plaintiffs Brown-Peterkin and Coccaro, their policies were purchased in 202-2013 and did not have the 2016 issue, but the court cited GEICO Indemnity Co. v Perez, 260 So. 3d 342 (Fla. 3d DCA 2018) and Jervis v. Castaneda, 243 So. 3d 996 (Fla. 4th DCA 2018) as applicable law.
Therefore, even though this issue is not becoming a class action, the same issues still arise. Those are 1) an oral rejection of UM coverage in Florida violates the law and 2) the failure of the insurance company to get a signed M9 form rejecting UM coverage merely creates a situation where evidence must be presented as to whether there was a knowing and voluntary written rejection of UM coverage.
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This case exemplifies how complicated car accident cases can be in Florida. At Russo Law, we can help you get your car accident case resolved in the best way possible. Call us today for a free consultation with a Florida car accident lawyer.