GIVING BACK

We believe in helping our communities beyond the confines of the courtroom.

Morgan & Morgan Hunger Relief Center Dedication

Morgan & Morgan Hunger Relief Center Dedication

On March 6, 2013, Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida’s fight to end hunger took a major step forward with the dedication of the Morgan & Morgan, P.A. Hunger Relief Center. The new, 100,000-square foot facility—more than double the size of its predecessor—is equipped to handle millions of pounds of food the organization had to previously turn away due to a lack of adequate coolers, freezers, and general infrastructure space.

“This is one of the best things we’ve ever done,” Mr. Morgan said of he and his wife Ultima’s generous $2 million donation to the cause. “Other than the four children, this is one of the best things we’ve ever done.”

By the organization’s estimates, the value of the food stored in the Morgan & Morgan, P.A. Hunger Relief Center over the next 20 years will exceed $1.4 billion.

The Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida is a private, nonprofit organization spearheading the fight to end hunger by collecting and distributing food to more than 500 nonprofit partner agencies throughout Brevard, Orange, Lake, Seminole, Osceola, and Volusia counties in Central Florida. In addition to gathering and distributing food to those in need, Second Harvest Food Bank strives to raise public awareness on the “invisible problem” of hunger and poverty, as well as develop county-specific solutions to hunger in Central Florida.

If you would like to get involved with or donate to the Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida, please visit their website.

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For The People Scholarship

For The People Scholarship

Morgan & Morgan is committed to helping out those students looking to get into law as a career. To help out, we formed the For The People Scholarship. Through this scholarship, we've already helped pay for law school for a first-year law student who was committed to making his or her community a better place.

John Morgan places a big emphasis on giving back to the community, and has built the firm to reflect his values of charity and public service. Many of our firm’s partners holds at least one leadership position in a charitable organization, for example.

We seek to inspire these values of charity and public service beyond our firm, and encourage aspiring lawyers to approach their careers as our attorneys already do.

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Medical Marijuana

Medical Marijuana

In 2013, John Morgan partnered with United for Care in campaigning to legalize medical marijuana on behalf of sick and suffering Floridians. It took nearly four years, two elections, and cost John millions of dollars, but medical marijuana was finally legalized in 2016.

John’s support for medical marijuana is personal; it helped relieve the pain of his father, who had emphysema and esophageal cancer, and his brother, who is paraplegic. Another reason he supports medical marijuana is because of the damage he’s seen caused by the powerful prescription pain medications his clients are often given by a doctor following an injury.

The initial campaign began by writing an initiative and hiring an “army of angels” to collect the nearly 700,000 signatures required to get it on the 2014 ballot. While collecting signatures proved challenging, the initiative eventually qualified for the ballot but faced a consistent and well funded opposition throughout the campaign. In the end, 58 percent of voters were in favor of the initiative, but it required at least 60 percent to pass.

Undeterred, and further inspired by Floridians who urged him to try again, John launched another campaign to legalize medical marijuana. The second time around Florida had no doubts about medical marijuana and the initiative passed with a resounding 71 percent of the vote.

Boys Town USA boys town usa
boys town usa
boys town usa

Offers access to foster homes and guidance for at-risk youths.

Harbor House harbor house
harbor house
harbor house

Provides help for abused women and children.

The Miami Project the miami project
the miami project
the miami project

Conducts neuromuscular and spinal injury research and testing.

United Cerebral Palsy united cerebral palsy
united cerebral palsy
united cerebral palsy

Provides vital therapy and services to children with special needs.

Firm News

Hurricane season is almost here. That means it’s time to review your insurance policy, hurricane-proof your home, and take all of the other steps you normally would when summer is near.

But this year is anything but ordinary, so there’s more to do – and consider.

For one, above-normal hurricane activity is likely in 2020. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center forecasts 13 to 19 named storms, six to 10 hurricanes, and three to six major (category 3-5) hurricanes. For context, an average season produces 12 storms, six hurricanes, and three major hurricanes. Two named storms have already formed before the official start of the season. 

For another, the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) continues to cause immense hardship around the world. To date, more than 100,000 Americans have lost their lives – a number that’s likely to increase substantially.

This means two things:

  • Being prepared is a unique and particularly critical task
  • You could have a fight on your hands with the insurance company

Below we break down both points.

Preparing For Hurricane Season Amid COVID-19

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that “planning may be different this year because of the need to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.” They recommend the following:

  • Allot more time than usual to prepare your emergency supplies (food, water, and medicine). Home delivery is recommended.
  • If possible, limit in-person visits to the pharmacy by signing up for mail order delivery or calling in prescriptions ahead of time.
  • Keep an eye on local guidance about evacuation plans.
  • Prepare a “go kit” with items you can’t do without. This should include hand sanitizer (or an alternative such as liquid soap).
  • When checking on family, friends, and neighbors, follow social distancing recommendations.
  • Follow CDC guidelines for health and safety if you need to visit a public disaster shelter.

Preparing Your Hurricane Claim

If you suffer property damage this hurricane season, expect the insurance company to be more difficult than normal. Between business interruption, nursing home neglect, workers’ compensation, and other coronavirus-related claims, some providers are struggling to pay their policyholders’ claims.

That means, now more than ever before, insurance companies will do all they can to avoid paying yours. They might:

  • Deny that you have the right coverage
  • Argue that certain damages are not covered under your policy
  • Delay the processing or payment of your claim
  • Require that you sign a written release of any supplemental claims
  • Advise you against seeking legal representation
  • Make lowball payment offers
  • Try to convince you that an inadequate payment is the best outcome you can get

Insurance companies may have their back against the wall, but you still deserve every penny you are owed. To recover the full amount, you need a legal team in your corner. For decades, Morgan & Morgan attorneys have been fighting back against dishonest and deceitful insurance companies. Our team may be able to help you, too.

Contact Morgan & Morgan

In this difficult time and always, our family is here for yours. If you’ve been affected by a hurricane, the coronavirus outbreak, or have another legal matter to discuss, contact us.

Our attorneys work on a contingency basis, meaning it costs nothing to hire us and we get paid only if you win.

Schedule a free, no-risk case evaluation today.

Fri, 05/29/2020 - 11:28

Preparing Your Home for Hurricane Season 2020

Hurricane season starts June 1, and experts expect it to be an especially nasty one. Though you can’t stop a hurricane, you can prepare for it. By planning ahead, you can give yourself a greater chance of riding a storm out safely.

Here are some important steps you can take to safeguard your property, your finances, and most importantly, you and your family’s health.

(1) Read your insurance policy closely to see what it includes.

Most homeowners policies don’t cover hurricane or flood damage; these are separate policies that you may want to consider purchasing. You should also see what your deductible is, because you’ll need to pay for that amount before receiving any compensation from the insurance company. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to call them for clarification. And if they give you any trouble, don’t hesitate to contact an attorney.

(2) Photograph your property before (and after) the storm hits.

You’ll need both wide shots and close-up ones of both the interior and exterior to serve as “Before” pictures in the event of a hurricane or other disaster. Store copies of these images online as a backup, in case something happens to your phone. By photographing your property after the storm as well, you will have proof that the damage occurred during the storm, not before.

(3) Make a disaster supply kit and a plan.

Think about what you might need if you have to evacuate your home or business; then put these items all in a large backpack or duffel bag. These supplies may or should include:

  • First aid kit
  • One week’s worth of medication (if applicable)
  • At least three days’ worth of water (one gallon per person per day)
  • At least three days’ worth of food (non-perishable)
  • Pet food
  • Cash and/or traveler’s checks
  • ID cards, leases, and other important documents
  • Flashlight and batteries
  • Can opener
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Map
  • Blankets and/or sleeping bags
  • Cell phone charger
  • Battery-powered radio
  • Whistle (to call for help)

If possible, you should also make arrangements for a place to stay in the event that you’re displaced. Consider, too, how you will communicate with family and other loved ones. Have a plan and check the local news for updates on the hurricane’s trajectory.

(4) Hurricane-proof your home or business.

To limit the toll the storm will take on your property, make the following preparations:

  • Fill plastic bottles, bathtubs, and sinks with clean water that you may need for flushing toilets and washing clothes.
  • Bring patio furniture, bicycles, etc. inside to protect them from wind.
  • Move valuables (and, if you can, furniture) from the basement/first level of your property to higher floors, in case of flooding.
  • Sandbag doorways to reduce flooding.
  • Unplug propane tanks and small appliances.
  • Weatherproof your windows.
  • If directed to do so by authorities, turn off utilities.

Hurricanes are incredibly destructive events. By taking the actions outlined above, you’ll be in a much better position before, during, and after a storm.

But there’s one more step you can take to protect your future: If your insurance company denies or undervalues what you think is a valid hurricane damage claim, contact a hurricane claim lawyer. Regardless of how prepared (or ill-prepared) you were, you could be owed compensation for the destruction wrought by the storm.

Fri, 05/29/2020 - 11:23

Understanding your business interruption coverage and what rights you have can be complicated and confusing. 

Mark Nation, who heads our national Insurance Recovery Group practice area, has spent 30 years studying insurance policies — so you don’t have to. Nation, who is Board Certified in civil trial law and business litigation, routinely represents individuals as well as small and large businesses nationwide in disputes with their own insurance companies. 

Nation answers some questions that business owners are asking about their business interruption claims.

To find out if you are eligible for a business interruption insurance lawsuit, take our free and easy quiz, or contact us to take a second look at your claim.

1. My business closed because of government shutdowns, and I filed my business interruption insurance claim. The insurance company denied my claim, what do I do now? 

Let [a lawyer] review that denial for you - and I’m happy to review it for free. If the insurance company is doing the right thing, I’ll tell you that. And if they’re not, I will tell you that too.

The most important information I want to get out to somebody in your situation is: Don’t be intimidated by the denial. Every case that I’ve ever won, they’ve all started with “No.” In fact, I can’t win your case until I get the denial. That’s important, that you just don’t give up or make the decision on your own that there’s nothing that can be done.

2. Are there exclusions that apply to my business interruption claim?

There are many, many business interruption policies that have no exclusion at all that deals with what’s going on now. And then, there are some [policies] that have an exclusion that the insurance companies say apply, and those exclusions have nothing at all to do with this situation. And then, there are other policies that do have an exclusion that we will have to put into court, and the court is going to have to decide whether or not those exclusions apply. 

Insurance companies are acting like this has all been decided. However, the primary issue in the cases where the policy does have an actual virus exclusion - those cases have not been litigated, and there are significant issues about the applicability of those exclusions in this situation. 

I am of very strong opinion that most of those exclusions are talking about a situation where a virus has gotten into the building and damaged the building. What we have is a totally different situation — where you’ve got a shutdown as a result of Covid circulating in the environment outside of the building. It is my position, based on the wording of the policy and the exclusion — and every word matters — that the exclusion does not apply to this situation.

3. My business interruption insurance claim was denied because there was no physical damage to my place of business, is my fight over?

The answer is no. The fight is not over. And here’s why: These insurance policies that contain the business interruption coverage usually have two different triggers. 

[The policy] says that your suspension of operations has to be caused by the “direct physical loss of or damage to property.” Those are two different things. There’s an “or” between them. The insurance company wrote them intending that they represented two different types of laws. 

However, what I’m seeing time and again in denial letters from insurance companies is they combine the two. They say you have no coverage because there is no “direct physical damage.” Those words are not in the policy. The policy says: “direct physical loss of OR damage to property.” “Direct physical loss of” is very different from “damage.”

I’ll give you an easy example of direct physical loss. Somebody steals your car. Your car’s gone; it’s not damaged. You have, under the law, suffered direct physical loss of your car, because you can no longer use it for its intended purpose. It’s not damaged. It might get damaged - in which case both those tiggers would apply.

The same situation applies when you’ve lost the intended use of your building. You can no longer use it for its intended purpose. That is a direct physical loss of the insured property. Coverage is triggered.

4. My business operates in a state where businesses are starting to open again. I was shut down for seven weeks and lost a lot of revenue, can I still file a business interruption insurance claim? 

Absolutely. In fact, that’s one of the main purposes of your business interruption.The fact that you’re back in business now, doesn’t prohibit you from filing the claim and getting paid. 

There are two parts of it: You have compensation during the time you were shut down or your operations were limited. Then, once everything is opened back up, we all recognize and most insurance policies recognize that there’s going to be a time period of ramping back up to get your profits up. Both those situations are contemplated under most policies.

5. I applied for PPP and was granted a loan, can I still file a business interruption insurance claim? 

Absolutely. The real question is: Does the insurance company get an offset for any of the money that you got under PPP?  The short answer is: It depends. It depends on what state and what the law is in that state. Many states would not allow the insurance company to take an offset for any of the PPP money. 

People should not be hesitant to file a claim just because they got PPP money. And if the insurance company says either 1) you can’t recover or 2) you get a reduction for the PPP money, you need to let a lawyer look at that and let you know if what they’re saying is true or not.

6. I received an SBA loan, does that mean I can't file my business interruption insurance claim? 

You can file it, and you can still get compensated for it. Sometimes the SBA is going to be entitled to be reimbursed if you get “double compensated.” But, what happens is insurance companies sometimes try to trick you and tell you that they don’t have to pay because you got an SBA loan. Not true. 

If you get an SBA loan — and this is different from PPP — then in that circumstance sometimes the SBA is entitled to get reimbursed that money if you get paid for it from your insurance company. So, it’s the reverse of what most insurance companies will tell you

7. Should I file my business interruption claim with my insurance agent or the insurance company? 

You should file your business interruption claim with both. 

The problem some people run into is they file it only with their insurance broker. Then the insurance broker will say it’s not covered, and then they don’t send it on to the insurance company. And so, the company is never put on notice. Then later, if you try to file a claim, the insurance company may say, “Hey, you were supposed to give prompt notice of your claim to us, and you didn’t do it.” 

So just give notice to the insurance company — their full name and their address is in the policy itself — and to your broker. Better yet, hire a lawyer who will take this on a contingency fee like I do. Let us file the claim on your behalf, because there are other problems that people run into filing these claims on their own. 

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

 

Thu, 05/28/2020 - 16:07
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