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Melissa M. Sims

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MELISSA MCMILLAN SIMS is an “AV” rated, Founding member of the law firm of Berk, Merchant & Sims, PLC. Ms. Sims received her BA from Louisiana State University and her J.D. from St. Thomas University in Miami, Florida. She has been admitted to the Louisiana State Bar since 1992 and the Florida Bar since 1996. She is also admitted in the United States District Court for the Eastern, Western and Middle Districts of Louisiana since 1992 and the Eleventh Circuit, the U.S. District Court, Southern, Middle and Northern Districts of Florida since 1996. She is a member of the American Bar Association, Federal Bar Association, Louisiana State Bar Association, Florida Bar (member Tort & Insurance Section) and American College of Coverage and Extracontractual Counsel.

Ms. Sims has tried insurance coverage cases involving arson, windstorm damage, jewelry theft, and a variety of property losses to defense verdicts for the insurance company. She has presented on insurance issues at the Florida Advisory Committee on Arson Prevention Conference, the Windstorm Insurance Network Conference, Miami Bench & Bar Conference and the American Bar Association Insurance Litigation Section Conference. Ms. Sims areas of practice include: Insurance Bad Faith Litigation, Commercial Insurance Coverage and Litigation, First and Third Party Insurance Coverage Litigation and Pre-Suit Property Claims Investigation.

Position at BMS and practice area(s)

  • Partner
    • Insurance Defense
    • Insurance Coverage Litigation
    • First-Party Insurance
    • Insurance Bad Faith

Jurisdiction(s) of admission and total years of practice

  • Louisiana Bar 1992
  • Florida Bar 1996
  • U.S. District Courts, Eastern, Western and Middle Districts of Louisiana
  • U.S. District Courts, Southern, Northern and Middle Districts of Florida
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit

Law School

  • B.A. (1986) Louisiana State University
  • J.D. (1992) St. Thomas University School of Law, Florida with honors

Organizational affiliation

  • American Bar Association Torts & Insurance Practice Section (TIPS), Property Insurance Law Committee, Insurance Coverage Litigation Committee; Litigation Section, Products Liability Committee, Member
  • American College of Coverage and Extracontractual Counsel, Member – Speaker
  • Claims & Litigation Management Alliance (CLM), Member
  • Dade County Defense Bar Association & Dade County Bar Association, Member
  • Dade County Federal and American Bar Associations (Torts and Insurance Practice Section), Member
  • Florida Advisory Committee on Arson Prevention, Member
  • Frequent Lecturer on Insurance Coverage, Bad Faith and Ethics; FACAP; The Windstorm Insurance Network
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent peer review rating
  • President, Windstorm Insurance Network 2021-2022
  • Insurance in Construction, Speaker 2021
  • Windstorm Insurance Network, Board of Director Member 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
  • Windstorm Insurance Network, Board of Director Executive Committee Secretary 2018
  • Windstorm Insurance Network, Committee Chair for Constitution and By Laws Committee
  • Windstorm Insurance Network, Program Chair 2014
  • Windstorm Insurance Network, Inc. – Designated Fellow

Select Cases

  • Treasure Cay v. Frontline, 2021 USDC LEXIS 29518
  • Certain Underwriters v. Pierson, 2021 Fla. App. LEXIS 7940
  • Saenz v. State Farm, 861 So. 2d 64, Fla. App. 3 Dist. 2003
  • Solar Time Ltd. v. XL Specialty Ins. Co., 142 Fed. Appx. 430 (11th Cir. 2005)
  • Underwriters at Lloyd’s, London v. Osting-Schwinn, 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 21844 (M.D. FL. 2006)
  • Royal Marco Point 1 Condo Ass’n. v. QBE Ins. Corp., 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 60940 (M.D. Fl. 2007)
  • 14 Karat Ent., Inc. v. Underwriters at Lloyd’s, London, 2008
  • Underwriters at Lloyd’s London v. Osting-Schwinn, 545 F. Supp. 2d 1261 (M.D. Fl. 2008)
  • Nirvana Condo. Ass’n. v. QBE Ins. Corp., 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 100771 (S.D. Fla. Oct. 10, 2008)
  • Underwriters at Lloyd’s London v. Osting-Schwinn, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 86786 (M.D. Fla. Sept. 30, 2008)
  • Isola Condo. Ass’n. v. QBE Ins. Corp., 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 101165 (S.D. Fla. Sept. 24, 2008)
  • Coconut Key Homeowners Ass’n v. Lexington Ins., 649 F. Supp. 2d 1363, 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 83652, 22 FLW Fed. D 57 (S.D. Fla. 2009)
  • Buckley Towers Condo. Ass’n. v. QBE Ins. Corp., 2010 U.S. App. LEXIS 19144 (11th Cir. 2010)
  • Firstnotebook, Inc. v. Dino Capone, 2009 Fla. App. LEXIS ______ (4 DCA 2009)
  • King Cole Condo. v. QBE Ins. Corp., 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 108970 (S.D. Fl. 2010)
  • Royal Bahamian Ass’n v. QBE Ins. Corp., 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 115304 (S.D. Fl. 2010)
  • Monaco Beach Club v. QBE Ins. Corp., 30 So. 3d 144; 2010 Fla. App. LEXIS 8899
  • Summit Towers Condo. Ass’n. v. QBE Ins. Corp., 2010 US Dist. LEXIS 80881, 23 FLW Fed. D 265
  • General Star Indem. Co. v. Atl. Hospitality of Fla., LLC, 57 So. 3d 238, 2011 Fla. App. LEXIS 3201, 36 Fla. L. Weekly D 515 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 3d Dist. 2011)
  • Ocean View Towers Ass’n. v. QBE Ins. Corp., 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 34758, (S.D. Fl. 2012)
  • Oriole Gardens Condo. Ass’n. v. Aspen Specialty Ins. Co., 875 F. Supp. 2d 1379, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 96432, 23 FLW Fed. D 299, 2012 WL 2854331 (S.D. Fla. 2012)
  • Ensenada Condo. Assoc., Inc. v. QBE Ins. Corp., SC09-441, May 31, 2012
  • Yacht Club on the Intracoastal Condo. Ass’n v. Lexington Ins. Co., 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 3254, 2013 WL 598389 (11th Cir. Fla. Feb. 15, 2013)