Disciplined in Sophisticated Defense and Insurance Litigation

Matthew J. Lavisky joined Butler in 2009, bringing with him a strong background that enables him to handle cases that deal with Coverage Defense and Extra-Contractual matters. Matt graduated from the University of Central Florida with a Bachelor of Science degree, and then later earned his Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from Barry University. While at Barry University, he was a member of the Moot Court Honors Board and the president of his university's Federalist Society chapter—a major influential legal organization.

In 2013, Matt earned the James A. Dixon Young Lawyer of the Year Award from the Florida Defense Lawyers Association (FDLA). He currently serves as a member of the board of directors for the FDLA. He is also an AV peer-rated attorney by Martindale-Hubbell.

Matt tackles cases that involve such things as bad faith, civil remedy notices, property insurance coverage, deceptive and unfair trade practices, and uninsured motorists.

Admissions

  • Florida

Recognitions

  • Florida Defense Lawyers Association 2013 James A. Dixon Young Lawyer of the Year Award
  • Florida Defense Lawyers Association 2015 Trial Advocate Quarterly Award

Education

  • University of Central Florida
    Bachelor of Science
  • Barry University School of Law
    Doctor of Jurisprudence

Memberships

  • Christian Legal Society (CLS)
  • Defense Research Institute (DRI)
  • Federalist Society
  • Florida Defense Lawyers Association (FDLA)
  • Hillsborough County Bar Association (HCBA)

Courts

  • Florida Courts (Northern, Middle and Southern Districts)
  • Florida State Courts
  • United States Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals

Forthuber v. First Liberty Ins. Corp., 2018 WL 4635639 (M.D. Fla. 2018) – order dismissing, with prejudice, lawsuit for first-party bad faith arising out of a property insurance claim.

MSPA Claims 1, LLC v. Liberty Mut. Fire Ins. Co., 322 F. Supp. 3d 1273 (S.D. Fla. 2018) – order dismissing class action complaint with prejudice.

Aviation One of Florida, Inc. v. Airborne Ins. Consultants (PTY), Ltd, 722 Fed. Appx. 870 (11th Cir. 2018) – opinion affirming order of dismissal under the doctrine of forum non conveniens based on forum-election clause.

Welford v. Liberty Mut. Ins. Co., 713 Fed. Appx. 969 (11th Cir. 2017) – summary judgment in third-party Powell bad faith case affirmed on appeal.

Liberty Mut. Fire Ins. Co. v. Wal-Mart Stores E., LP, 269 F. Supp. 3d 1254 (M.D. Fla. 2017) – partial summary judgment in subrogation action finding tenant of insured breached duty to indemnify insured.

MSPA Claims 1, LLC v. First Acceptance Ins. Co., 2016 WL 4523850 (S.D. Fla. 2016) – order dismissing class action complaint for lack of standing.

Kropilak v. 21st Century Ins. Co., 806 F.3d 1062 (11th Cir. 2015) – jury verdict in favor of insurer in third-party bad faith case, affirmed on appeal, holding insurer has no duty to enter into a Cunningham agreement and no duty to its insured to enter into a consent judgment in excess of the limits of its policy.

Helt v. Liberty Ins. Corp., 153 F.Supp.3d 1388 (M.D. Fla. 2015) – order dismissing, with prejudice, count for third-party bad faith.

Altrui v. State Farm Fla. Ins. Co., 2014 WL 11394450 (Fla. 6th Cir. 2014) aff’d 192 So. 3d 477 (Fla. 2d DCA 2016) – order dismissing, with prejudice, lawsuit for first-party bad faith in sinkhole claim after evidentiary hearing.

Colella v. State Farm Fla. Ins. Co., 95 So. 3d 891 (Fla. 2d DCA 2012) – opinion reversing order finding insurer had confessed judgment and breached contract in sinkhole claim where insured had not provided competing engineer report before filing lawsuit.

Wild Enters., Inc. v. Assur. Co. of Am., 2011 WL 3802246 (Fla. 4th Cir. 2011) – order granting summary judgment in first-party bad faith action because insured had not satisfied condition precedent to suit.

October 15, 2018 PUBLICATIONFighting Removal Spoiler Claims Against Adjusters, Attorneys, and Agents in Bad-Faith Lawsuits

This article discusses cases permitting and prohibiting lawsuits against adjusters.

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June 13, 2018 PUBLICATIONGood-Faith Claim Handling in Florida - Part II

This article is a continuation of the "Good-Faith Claim Handling in Florida" article that appeared in the Southern Loss Association Newsletter in February 2018. That article discussed the history and background of Florida Statute § 624.155, which is commonly referred to as Florida's bad-faith statute. The statute provides the exclusive remedy for people who believe they have been damaged by bad-faith claim handling practices in the first-party insurance context in Florida.

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February 05, 2018 PUBLICATIONGood-Faith Claim Handling in Florida

Like many states, Florida law allows a person under a first-party insurance contract to sue an insurer if the person has been damaged by certain actions often referred to as "bad-faith" claim handling practices. The purpose of this article is to explain how Florida addresses bad-faith claim handling practices. This article will also provide examples of how claims professionals can ensure they are always handling claims in good faith.

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November 29, 2017 PUBLICATIONExisting Tools to Curb Runaway Attorney FEE Awards

Florida provides one of the most generous insurance fee-shifting mechanisms in the nation. The lure of a large attorney fee award has spawned the very litigation that the fee-shifting statute was intended to avoid. It is common for attorneys representing insureds to file lawsuits over matters that could easily be resolved informally or to drive up a fee claim by unnecessarily aggressive litigation. Courts often reward these tactics by failing to adjust a claim for attorney fees to account for unnecessary litigation, or, worse, by applying a contingency fee multiplier. But courts can only respond to arguments made by the litigants. Florida law provides existing tools that, if applied, can help curb a runaway attorney fee award. This article sets out the current legal environment and discusses ways defendants can fend off a runaway attorney fee award.

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March 13, 2015 PUBLICATIONLiability and Damages: Understanding Property Insurance Bad Faith Litigation in Florida

Florida recognizes two general categories of insurance bad faith: first-party and third-party. A cause of action for third-party bad faith exists at common law, but also may be brought under the Florida bad faith statute. The essence of a cause of action for third-party bad faith is that the insurer breached its duty to its insured by failing to properly or promptly defend claim, which resulted in the insured being exposed to a judgment in excess of the coverage limits.

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Webinars

September 25, 2018 WEBINARSChallenges and Strategies Defending Florida Property Insurance Claims - 2018 WEBINAR

Partner Matthew Lavisky held a discussion on Florida property insurance trends and recent case law for the FDLA.

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April 24, 2018 WEBINARSDefending first-Party Property Bad Faith Lawsuits

Lawsuits for First-Party Property bad faith presented unique challenges to Florida insurers. In Part Two of this webinar series,  common issues insurers face when defending these lawsuits have been discussed. We explored allegations commonly made by insureds and their attorneys to support bad faith lawsuits, the damages recoverable by a successful plaintiff, discovery, and strategies for defending against these lawsuits.

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March 07, 2018 WEBINARSFirst-Party Property Bad Faith in Florida

Matthew Lavisky hosted a Webinar on the topic "First-Party Property Bad Faith in Florida". 

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Blog Posts

August 16, 2018 BLOG POSTNot so Fast! The Confession of Judgment Doctrine in Dispute-Over-Amount Cases

Florida law allows an insured to recover attorney’s fees if the insured prevails in a lawsuit against the insurer for insurance benefits.  See § 627.428, Florida Statutes.  The plain text of the statute requires a “judgment” against the insurer.  In Wollard v. Lloyd's & Companies of Lloyd's, 439 So. 2d 217 (Fla. 1983), however, the Florida Supreme Court held that an insurer’s post-suit payment of a claim may be the “functional equivalent of a confession of judgment or a verdict in favor of the insured”, thus, triggering the fee-shifting statute.

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March 07, 2018 BLOG POSTFirst-Party Property Bad Faith in Florida - Podcast

Increasingly, property insurers in Florida are being sued for bad faith. What accounts for this increase?  Mainly, it has been driven by recent appellate court decisions that have eroded and all but eliminated any prerequisites to bad faith actions.  In part one of this two-part webinar series, we will outline the legal environment created by those decisions; attempt to define “bad faith”; explore the use and abuse of the civil remedy notice of insurer violation, and; discuss some things that can be done either to avoid a bad faith lawsuit altogether or, at least, to put the file in the best posture if a bad faith lawsuit can’t be avoided.

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December 15, 2017 BLOG POSTDuty to Initiate Settlement Negotiations Under Powell not Triggered Unless Liability is Clear

In a recent decision, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed an important order of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida in a so-called “Powell claim.”  Welford v. Liberty Mutual Ins. Co., --- Fed. App’x ---, 2017 WL 5899784 (11th Cir. November 29, 2017).  The District Court order can be found at Welford v. Liberty Ins. Corp., 190 F. Supp. 3d 1085 (N.D. Fla. 2016). 

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August 24, 2017 BLOG POSTWhy Butler?

Why Butler? Find out more from Partner Matthew Lavisky.

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Events

August 15, 2018 EVENTNBI's Advanced Insurance Bad Faith Seminar

"Strategic Discovery in Bad Faith Lawsuits" Presented by Matthew Lavisky at the National Business Institute

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December 08, 2017 EVENT2017 DRI Insurance Coverage and Practice Symposium - Hot Topics in Problem Jurisdictions

Matthew Lavisky from Butler Weihmuller Katz Craig along with co-presenter Dan D. Kohane presented in New York, NY at the 2017 DRI Insurance Coverage and Practice Symposium on the topic of "Hot Topics in Problem Jurisdictions".

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News

September 17, 2018 NEWSMatthew Lavisky Elected to the Board of Directors for the FDLA

Congratulations to Partner Matthew Lavisky for being elected to the Board of Directors for the FDLA!

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August 29, 2013 NEWSFlorida Defense Lawyers Association "Young Lawyer of the Year" award

The firm is pleased to announce that Matt Lavisky has been awarded the Florida Defense Lawyers Association  "Young Lawyer of the Year" award. This year, Matt also served as chair of the editorial board for the FDLA Journal. Please join us in congratulating this well-deserved achievement.

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Key Points
Practice Area CASE TYPE
  • Attorney Fee Disputes
  • Bad Faith
  • Civil Remedy Notices
  • Coverage - Bodily Injury
  • Coverage - Business Owner's
  • Coverage - First Party Automobile
  • Coverage - First Party Property
  • Coverage - Homeowner's
  • Coverage - Personal Injury
  • Coverage - Property
  • Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices
  • Extracontractual Claims
  • Hurricane Losses
  • Third Party Coverage Issues
  • Uninsured Motorist