Disciplined in Sophisticated Defense and Insurance Litigation

Ryan K. Hilton joined Butler in 2002. A Partner with the firm in the Tampa office, his focus is on casualty defense litigation, coverage defense, extra-contractual, and trucking.

Ryan earned his Juris Doctorate, cum laude, from Stetson University College of Law in 2000 and received the William F. Blews Pro Bono Service Award. During his education, he worked a law clerk for the Honorable Paul Levine in the Sixth Judicial Circuit of Florida. Upon graduation, Ryan became a staff attorney in the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit of Florida before joining our Tampa office. He also published numerous industry articles.

In the course of his career, Ryan has tried a number of cases, primarily in third-party liability coverage, third-party liability defense, and bad faith claims.

Ryan received his Bachelor of Science degree, magna cum laude, from Ball State University in 1996, graduating from the Honors College. He received his Juris Doctorate degree, cum laude, from Stetson University College of Law. Upon graduation, he was a recipient of the William F. Blews Pro Bono Service Award. While at Stetson, he served as a law clerk for the Honorable Paul Levine in the Sixth Judicial Circuit of Florida. Ryan is also an AV peer- rated attorney by Martindale-Hubbell.

Admissions

  • Florida

Education

  • Ball State University
    Bachelor of Science
  • Stetson University
    Juris Doctorate

Memberships

  • American Bar Association
  • Hillsborough County Bar Association
  • The Florida Bar

Courts

  • United States Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals

REPRESENTATIVE CASES

National Specialty Ins. Co. v. ABS Freight Transportation, Inc. et al., F.Supp.3d, 2014 WL 8183082 (S.D. Fla. Dec. 4, 2014)

General Fidelity Ins. Co. v. Foster, et al., 808 F.Supp.2d 1315 (S.D. Fla. March 24, 2011)

Peak Property and Cas. Co. Ins. Corp. v. Ensslin, et al., Slip Copy, 2014 WL 2124270 (M.D. Fla. May 21, 2014)

Chartis Property & Cas. Co. v. Jassy, et al., Slip Copy, 2013 WL 5921541 (M.D. Fla. Nov. 4, 2013)

Direct General Ins. Co. v. Vreeman, 943 So. 2d 914 (Fla. 1st DCA 2006)

September 22, 2014 PUBLICATIONCourts' Different Views On Additional Insureds' Duties Under Liability Policy Notice Provisions

Liability policies typically require the insured to provide prompt notice of a claim or suit. Notice is regarded as a condition precedent to the insurer's duty to defend or indemnify. The notice provisions in a typical liability policy seem straightforward. However, issues surrounding notice become complicated when an additional insured, who is typically not a party to the insurance contract and sometimes unnamed in a policy, is involved. Under those situations, courts have had to address, among other issues, the sophistication and resources of the additional insured, whether the additional insured is aware that coverage potentially exists or even that policies potentially exist, whether the jurisdiction requires the additional insured to actually tender the claim or suit or whether another insured's tender of the claim or suit is sufficient and whether there was late notice or no notice at all by the additional insured. Different jurisdictions have reached different results. 

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April 25, 2014 PUBLICATIONAn Insurance Carrier's Good Faith Obligations Toward Its Insureds In Liability Settlements Where Not All Of the Insureds Are Released

Generally, liability insurers must secure a release of all of their insureds when settling claims against their insureds. However, some courts have recognized circumstances where an insurer may settle for an insured at the exclusion of another while still maintaining its good faith duties toward all of its insureds. Other courts have seemingly rejected the notion that an insurer can ever settle for one of its insureds at the exclusion of others. These release issues occur most prevalently in automobile accidents involving insured owners and additional insured drivers.  

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September 26, 2013 PUBLICATIONSome Considerations In Addressing Time-Limit Demands

Liability insurance carriers should be prompt and proactive when they receive a time-limit demand from a claimant. Time is usually not on the carrier's side when it comes to these settlement communications.

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July 25, 2013 PUBLICATIONAn Insurer's Liability For A Hospital Lien After Settlement Of A Claim That Impairs The Lien

Over forty states have hospital lien laws. Those laws typically allow hospitals to recover against parties, including insurers, who impair their liens. In many states, the hospital lien laws do not clearly identify the type and extent of damages a hospital can recover against a party who impairs a hospital lien. The damages a hospital can recover from a party who impairs a lien depends upon the language of the applicable hospital lien law and the courts' interpretations of that law. Results vary from state to state. 

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March 22, 2012 PUBLICATIONA Liability Insurer's (Almost Absolute) Right To Settle Claims Without The Insured's Consent

Many cases hold that a liability insurer can settle a claim against its insured without the insured’s consent because the policy language gives an insurer the right to settle even when an insured may not want to settle.1 For the most part, courts in California, Florida, and Louisiana allow insurers to settle claims without the insured’s consent where the policy gives the insurer the right to settle as it deems expedient. However, courts may nonetheless consider whether a settlement may have adversely impacted the insured to determine whether an insurer acted in good faith.

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January 30, 2012 PUBLICATIONBest Laid Plans: How the Definition of "Occurrence" in CGL Cases Continues To Change

Some courts have held that faulty workmanship or improper construction is not an "occurrence" because it is not an "accident." Other courts have held that defective construction may constitute an "occurrence" when "property damage" results from the "unexpected, unforeseen, or undesigned happening or consequence" of the insured's negligent behavior. Yet other courts have held that defective construction itself is not an "occurrence," but any damage resulting from defective construction may be an "occurrence" even if it is damage to the insured's project.

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June 23, 2011 PUBLICATIONChoice-Of-Law Principles Affecting Insurance Bad-Faith Claims

[R. Steven Rawls is a partner and Ryan K. Hilton is a senior associate with the law firm of Butler Weihmuller Katz Craig LLP, which has offices in Tampa, Chicago, Charlotte, Mobile, Tallahassee, and Miami. This commentary expresses the author's opinions–not the opinions of Butler or Mealey's. Copyright © 2011 by R. Steven Rawls and Ryan K. Hilton. Responses are welcome.] 

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August 26, 2010 PUBLICATIONChinese-Drywall Cases And Their Impact On Liability-Insurance Carriers In Settling Multiple Claims In Good Faith Against Their Insureds In Certain State Courts

This is one of a series of articles originally published in Mealey's Litigation Report: Insurance Bad Faith, Vol. 24, #8 (August 26, 2010). © 2010  

[Editor's Note: Steve Rawls is a partner and Ryan K. Hilton is a senior associate with the law firm of Butler Weihmuller Katz Craig LLP in Tampa, Florida. Any commentary or opinions do not reflect the opinions of Butler or Mealey's Publications. Copyright © 2010 by R. Steve Rawls and Ryan K. Hilton. Responses are welcome.]

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October 22, 2009 PUBLICATIONDoes An Insured Owe A Duty Of Good Faith To Its Insurer When The Insured Is Responsible For Defense Costs In A Self-Insured Retention?

Many businesses are increasingly utilizing insurance policies with large self-insured retention endorsements in order to exercise better control over the defense of claims. In these circumstances, an issue may arise regarding whether an insured who is responsible for defense costs under a self-insured retention ("SIR") owes a duty of good faith to its insurer.

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November 16, 2004 PUBLICATIONHospital Lien Laws and Personal Injury Settlements

Many jurisdictions have hospital lien laws. These laws ensure payment to hospitals for the beneficial services they provide. Some jurisdictions liberally interpret these laws so that technical deficiencies in establishing or seeking enforcement do not defeat payment to the hospitals. Other jurisdictions are less likely to ignore such deficiencies.

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January 21, 2004 PUBLICATIONDo Liability Insurers Have A Duty To Make An Offer Where There Is No Claim Against The Insured?

A liability insurer has a duty to handle and settle claims made against its insured in good faith. Courts have grappled with whether this duty requires an insurer to make a settlement offer when there is no claim against the insured.

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Events

October 25, 2010 EVENTChinese Drywall Litigation and Coverage Conference
Chinese Drywall Litigation and Coverage Conference
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Key Points
Practice Area CASE TYPE
  • Appellate
  • Third Party Coverage Issues
  • Trucking
  • Criminal Law
  • Extracontractual Claims
  • General Liability - Coverage
  • Indemnity Claims
  • Motor Vehicle Claims
  • OCIP - Owner Controlled Insurance Program
  • Personal Injury - Coverage
  • PIP
  • Products Liability
  • Attorney Fee Disputes
  • Chemicals - Toxic Tort
  • Civil Remedy Notices
  • Complex Liability Litigation
  • Coverage - Bodily Injury
  • Coverage - First Party Automobile
  • Standard Liability
  • Automobile Claims
  • BI (Bodily Injury)
  • Coverage - Personal Injury
  • CCIP - Contractor Controlled Insurance Program
  • Coverage - Property
  • Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices
  • General Casualty Litigation
  • Personal Injury Protection
  • Premises Liability
  • Bodily Injury - Coverage
  • Boiler and Machinery - Coverage
  • BOP
  • CGL
  • Commercial General Liability
  • Coverage - First Party Property
  • Hospital Liens
  • Multi-District Litigation
  • Toxic Torts
  • Class Action
  • Third Party Liability
  • Bad Faith
  • Construction Defect Litigation
  • Excess Coverage
  • First Party Coverage Issues