Great Lakes Insurance SE v. Wave Cruiser LLC, No. 20-14517 (11th Cir. 2022)Annotate this Case
Great Lakes Insurance SE (“Great Lakes”) and Wave Cruiser LLC (“Wave Cruiser”) were involved in an insurance dispute. Wave Cruiser purchased an “all risks” insurance policy from Great Lakes covering a vessel that Wave Cruiser had recently acquired. The policy did not cover engine damage unless an accidental external event caused the damage. After Wave Cruiser purchased the policy, the vessel suffered catastrophic engine failure. Wave Cruiser submitted a claim on its policy. Great Lakes denied the claim, explaining that Wave Cruiser had not shown that an external event caused the engine damage.
Great Lakes filed suit for a declaratory judgment that Wave Cruiser’s policy did not afford coverage for the loss. Wave Cruiser filed counterclaims for breach of contract and breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing. The district court granted summary judgment to Great Lakes. The district court concluded that Wave Cruiser failed to come forward with evidence that an external event caused the engine damage.
The Eleventh Circuit agreed with the district court that Wave Cruiser had the burden to come forward with evidence that an external event caused the engine failure. The court held that (1) the district court did not err by placing the burden on Wave Cruiser to provide evidence that an external event caused the vessel’s port engine to fail, and (2) the district court committed harmless error by considering inadmissible expert opinion testimony.