Introducing: Julie C. Collange

Julie C. Collange’s focus is in the area of Plaintiff’s First Party Property Damage cases, where she represents property owners against insurance companies who have wrongfully denied, delayed, or underpaid their insurance claims.

Julie attended Lynn University where she graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration, specializing in International Business and attended Nova Southeastern University where she earned her Juris Doctorate degree in law.

While attending law school, Julie earned her certification as a Guardian ad Litem to advocate on behalf of children who have been abused, abandoned or neglected. In addition, she gained Florida Bar approval as a Certified Legal Intern to represent individuals under the Children and Families Clinic in partnership with the Broward Legal Aid Society. Through these programs Julie gained valuable experience handling a variety of legal issues and developed a passion for helping those in need.

Julie is admitted to practice law in the state of Florida and is currently a member of the Florida Bar and Broward County Bar Association.

Julie is fluent in French.


Introducing: India J. Davis

India J. Davis

India J. Davis

India J. Davis was born and raised in Central Florida. India attended the University of Central Florida where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Legal Studies. In 2012, India graduated from UCF. Following graduation, India worked for J.P. Morgan Chase in their card services department as an account manager.

In 2014 after two years of employment with Chase, India made a decision to obtain her law degree. India continued her education at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University College of Law. While attending law school India received book awards in evidence and remedies. In 2017, India received her J.D. from FAMU, graduating in the top 25% of her class. India obtained her Florida Bar License following the July 2017 administration of the Florida Bar exam.

India focuses her practice in the areas of homeowner’s property insurance litigation.

Bar Admissions:
Florida Bar, 2017

Education:
Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University College of Law, J.D., 2017
University of Central Florida, B.S., 2012

E-mail: idavis@mineolaw.com


Introducing: Stefan K. Williamson

Stefan K. Williamson

Stefan K. Williamson

Originally a native of Jamaica, Stefan has spent the latter half of his life in South Florida.  Though, he has been litigating cases from the panhandle down to Key West his entire career.  Stefan appreciates the different perspectives and variables at play, enabling him to fine-tune an approach catered to his clients’ needs.

Prior to joining the Mineo Salcedo Law Firm, Stefan practiced with several regional law firms representing large financial institutions, insurance companies and other businesses in State and Federal courts.  With the knowledge and insight gained working for institutional clients, Stefan now devotes his practice to protecting the rights of policyholders and service providers in underpaid or denied claims, as well as other general civil litigation matters.

Stefan earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Finance, summa cum laude, from Florida Atlantic University.  He then obtained his Juris Doctor Degree from Florida International University College of Law, receiving high regards in legal research and writing.  While in law school, Stefan devoted hundreds of hours through Legal Aid Service of Broward County, Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center, Feeding South Florida, and HandsOn Broward, amongst others; an investment in the community he continues to date.

Stefan is licensed to practice law in all Florida State courts, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, and the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Florida.

In his off time, you may find Stefan exploring South Florida with his family, mountain biking, or tackling another home project.


Citizens v Mendoza

On July 5, 2018 the Fourth District Court of Appeal reversed a judgment entered at trial in favor of the insureds, Risbel Mendoza and Vicente Jubes.  The case involved a homeowner’s claim for water damages resulting from a water heater leak.  The insurance company, Citizens Property Insurance Corporation, denied the claim, asserting that the damage fell under the policy’s constant or repeated seepage or leakage exclusion.

According to the policy:

Constant or repeated seepage or leakage of water or steam, or the presence or condensation of humidity, moisture or vapor; which occurs over a period of time, whether hidden or not and results in damage such as wet or dry rot, “fungi,” deterioration, rust, decay or other corrosion.

At the trial, the attorney for the homeowners argued that Citizens picked the wrong exclusion to deny the claim and that it should have picked a “more specific” exclusion over the “more general” exclusion, and therefore the insurance company violated its duty to adjust.

Additionally, the insureds complained about how the adjuster from Citizens denied the claim, asserting that it was a “violation of the ethical responsibilities.  It is a violation of the ethical – of the adjuster’s law.  It is a violation of the contract itself where it says, we will adjust all losses.”

The jury found that Citizens did not properly exclude the claim from coverage and awarded the homeowners $22,000 in damages.

The appellate court reversed, finding that the jury instructions focused on whether the adjuster properly investigated or properly adjusted the claim and whether Citizens violated a code of ethics.  While such considerations may be appropriate in a bad faith case, they have no place in a simple breach of contract action.  See Citizens Prop. Ins. Corp. v. Calonge, 43 Fla. L. Weekly D855b (Fla. 3d DCA Apr. 18, 2018).  The homeowners were free to criticize Citizens’ adjuster’s conclusions without arguing that he breached a duty or obligation to them.

Download Citizens v. Mendoza (duty to adjust) PDF


Introducing: Lance B. Stephan

Lance B. Stephan

Lance B. Stephan is an experienced civil litigator. Mr. Stephan primarily represents homeowners in legal disputes with their insurance carriers. Prior to joining the Mineo Salcedo Law Firm, Mr. Stephan was Associate General Counsel to Florida’s largest homeowners’ insurance company. Mr. Stephan also previously worked as an associate attorney for a well-known Miami law firm, where he represented a number of insurance carriers throughout Florida.

Mr. Stephan completed earned both his Bachelors and Masters Degrees at Florida State University and graduated cum laude from the University of Miami School of Law. During law school, he was a judicial intern for Justice Barbara J. Pariente, at the Florida Supreme Court. Prior to attending law school, he worked as a legislative aide in the Florida House of Representatives in Tallahassee, Florida.

Mr. Stephan is a member of the Florida Bar.


Introducing: Patricia Sierra

Prior to joining the Mineo Salcedo Law Firm and representing plaintiffs in insurance-related disputes, Patricia had years of experience in insurance litigation in both first–party and third-party insurance defense litigation, including non-binding arbitration proceedings and other means of alternative dispute resolution.

Before entering private practice, Patricia served for three years as law clerk and trial court staff attorney at the Fifth Judicial Circuit of Florida, in and for Marion County, Florida. Patricia assisted Judge Frances S. King, Judge Steven G. Rogers, and Judge Lisa Herndon on civil matters ranging from contract disputes, negligence actions, to probate matters. She also assisted the circuit court appeals panel, in addressing civil appeals of county court decisions.

Patricia is a long-time resident of South Florida, having received her Bachelor of Science degree from Barry University and is a graduate of the University of Florida’s Fredric G. Levin College of Law.

Patricia is fluent in Spanish and is a member of the Florida Association for Women Lawyers.


Introducing: Marius L. Boeru

Marius L. Boeru

Born in Romania and raised in Miami, Mr. Boeru earned his Bachelor’s Degree at the University of Florida in 2002, and was awarded a Juris Doctor degree from Florida International College of Law in 2005. He was a member of the first graduating class of FIU Law, as well as an inaugural FIU Law Review member.

Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Boeru’s litigation experience focused on representing individual defendants and insurance companies in personal injury cases. He also represented plaintiffs in automobile, slip/fall and wrongful death lawsuits where he was dedicated to fighting for the rights of the wronged throughout the State of Florida.
In his time as an attorney, he has spent countless hours in courtrooms throughout the State gaining valuable experience in civil trial practice and procedure. Mr. Boeru has tried cases in counties through Florida, including Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach.

Although his practice now focuses on fighting for the rights of property insurance holders, it also includes general civil litigation, personal injury, insurance coverage disputes, automobile negligence, trucking negligence, bad faith litigation, premise liability and negligent security with a focus on wrongful death and catastrophic injuries.

Mr. Boeru is admitted to practice in all courts within the State of Florida. He is also admitted to practice in the Southern and Northern Districts of Florida. Mr. Boeru’s professionalism and proficiency as a litigator has been recognized by his peers resulting in an AV- Preeminent rating – the highest rating for legal skill and ethics – from Martindale-Hubbell.


Introducing: Trevor Thomson

Trevor Thomson

Trevor Thomson

Trevor Thomson is an experienced trial lawyer and passionate advocate. Prior to joining The Mineo Salcedo Law Firm, Mr. Thomson served as an Assistant Public Defender for the 20th Judicial Circuit, where he zealously fought to defend the rights of the indigent. During his time at the Public Defender’s, Mr. Thomson tried over twenty jury trials and was the attorney of record in over one thousand criminal cases ranging from DUI to complex economic and SVU felonies.

In 2008, Mr. Thomson graduated with his Bachelor’s degree in Business Finance from Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Outside the classroom, Mr. Thomson played for the Men’s Ice Hockey team at Saint Joseph’s.

In his senior year of college, Mr. Thomson was recruited by Morgan Stanley, a leading global financial services firm providing investment banking, securities, wealth management and investment management services. At Morgan Stanley, Mr. Thomson worked as a financial analyst in the operations division of the firm. There, he specialized in credit default swaps, interest rate swaps, and bespoke over-the-counter derivatives products. Mr. Thomson’s background in both litigation and finance make him a valuable asset in complex litigation cases.

After working for Morgan Stanley for over three years, Mr. Thomson’s passion for justice led him to enroll in law school in 2011. In 2014, Mr. Thomson graduated from Ave Maria School of Law in Naples, Florida. While in law school, Mr. Thomson concentrated on opportunities to hone his craft in the areas of research, writing, and trial advocacy. Mr. Thomson excelled in those areas, serving as the Executive Articles Editor for the Ave Maria International Law Journal, working for his Contracts professor as a faculty research assistant, spending the summer of his second year working in federal court for The Honorable Douglas N. Frazier in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, advancing to the semi-final round in the Robert H. Bork Moot Court Competition, and receiving an “A” grade in Trial Advocacy.

Today, Mr. Thomson continues to fight against injustice, representing home owners, restoration companies, and other vendors against insurance companies who have either underpaid or denied on property claims.

Mr. Thomson is a member in good standing with the Florida Bar and is licensed to practice in all Florida State courts.


Incredible Insurance Claim Stories

Proeprty Claim Law

New house destroyed by fire

Insurance claims stories seems to make news headlines nearly everyday, which is no surprise, as 1 in 15 homeowners make a claim each year, according the Huffington Post. Given the many potential disasters that come with homeownership there is a high chance all of us will be reaching out to our insurance provider at one point or another to make use of the insurance we pay for.

While there are certainly stories of simple claims processes, the anecdotes below show there may not be such thing as a standard insurance claims. Some of these stories highlight fraud; others show instances where homeowners were required to pay out of pocket for disasters and faulty appliances. As you’ll see, most of these stories took quite a negotiation to get claims paid and others were unable to collect payment from their provider.

  • After a fire, a homeowner threw out a charred designer purse. Noticing the purse, the claims adjuster opened it up to find $400,000 of precious jewels and jewelry inside – saving the homeowner another catastrophic loss.
  • A homeowner was hiding cash in her bookshelf and claimed it was stolen. Fortunately, she was covered and able to recover most of the money, but if a house fire had destroyed the money, she would be out of luck as this instance was not on her policy.
  • A house was completely burnt down, but the homeowner’s claim was denied because she owned a dog on her insurance company’s prohibited dog breeds list, even though the dog had nothing to do with the fire.
  • A homeowner was denied, by their insurance company, after filing a claim for damage from their broken refrigerator. The claim was originally denied because the home was ‘customarily unoccupied,” although the insurance company is now reevaluating this decision.
  • In an attempt to cash in on his property and automobile a homeowner lit them both on fire. He did not receive money, but did receive five years in federal prison for insurance fraud.
  • An electric cooker, used by children, caused a kitchen fire, which was reported to the insurance company.
  • An insurance company denied a claim for damage, from excess steam, caused by a malfunctioning washing machine. After taking legal action and pointing out to the judge, steam is a form of water, the homeowner won the case.
  • A homeowner’s wine collection was damaged due to sewer backup, which exposed the wine to heat. The homeowner was able to win the claim, but not before a challenging battle.
  • While a family was away on vacation, their home had a kitchen fire causing nearly $16,000 in damage. Upon arriving home, they were shocked to discover they were not covered, by their policy, for insurance fire.
  • In another odd instance, a goose swallowed a homeowner’s diamond ring and the insurance company refused to cover it.
  • Another homeowner had a toilet flood causing damage to his home, Even though this was immediately reported to the insurance company, they avoided his calls, did not pay out the claim and even became hostile causing an already stressful situation to become even worse.

To ensure you are covered and receiving the appropriate compensation from your homeowner’s claim please call the Mineo Salcedo Law Firm at 954-463-8100.