LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
Mealey's Banking & Finance - Federal Judge Allows FCCPA and FDCPA Claims To Proceed

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on July 2 found that a homeowner properly pleaded his claims for violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act (FCCPA), refusing to grant a motion to dismiss the case filed by a lender and loan servicer (Roberto Jhon Manrique v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., et al., No. 15-80057, S.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 86446).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Defendants: Plaintiffs Fail To State Claim in VOC Litigation

FORT MYERS, Fla. - A group of chemical companies being sued by a farm trust that alleges that the companies have contaminated the trust's property with volatile organic compounds on July 1 filed a brief in Florida federal court arguing that the plaintiffs' second amended complaint should be dismissed for failure to state a claim pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure (FRCP) 12(b)(6) (Noel D. Clark Jr., et al. v. Ashland Inc., No. 13-794, M.D. Fla.).

Mealey's Insurance - Insured Owes $305,000 For Settlement Of Chinese Drywall Claims, Judge Says

FORT MYERS, Fla. - An insured owes deductible payments in the amount of $305,000 to its insurer for the resolution of Chinese drywall claims made in a multidistrict litigation, a Florida federal judge held July 1 (Mid-Continent Casualty Co. v. Hansen Homes of South Florida Inc., No. 14-35, M.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 85760).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - BP Agrees To Pay $18.7B To Resolve Claims Over Gulf Oil Spill

NEW ORLEANS - BP Exploration & Production Inc. will pay $18.7 billion over the course of 18 years to resolve Clean Water Act (CWA) and natural resource damages claims from the federal government and states of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas stemming from the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico that followed the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, the company announced today (In re: Oil Spill by the Oil Rig "Deepwater Horizon" in the Gulf of Mexico, April 20, 2010, MDL No. 2179, E.D. La.)

Mealey's Insurance - Magistrate: Fact Issues Exist Over Role In Construction Project Delays In Surety Suit

ORLANDO, Fla. - A genuine dispute exists over whether a subcontractor caused any delays in a construction project, a Florida magistrate judge found June 26, denying summary judgment to a contractor and its surety (The Davis Group Inc. v. Ace Electric Inc. and The Hartford Casualty Insurance Co., No. 14-251, M.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 83368).

Mealey's Insurance - Florida Panel Finds Discovery Order On Hospital Exceeded Statute's Scope

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - A trial court erred in ordering a hospital to produce confidential contracts between it and 37 health insurers, a Florida appeals panel ruled June 22, finding that the scope of the law under which the order was issued did not extend to such documents (Shands Jacksonville Medical Center Inc. v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., No. 1D14-2001, Fla. App., 1st Dist.).

Mealey's Health Law - Florida Panel Finds Discovery Order On Hospital Exceeded Statute's Scope

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - A trial court erred in ordering a hospital to produce confidential contracts between it and 37 health insurers, a Florida appeals panel ruled June 22, finding that the scope of the law under which the order was issued did not extend to such documents (Shands Jacksonville Medical Center Inc. v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., No. 1D14-2001, Fla. App., 1st Dist.).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Florida Panel Finds Discovery Order On Hospital Exceeded Statute's Scope

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - A trial court erred in ordering a hospital to produce confidential contracts between it and 37 health insurers, a Florida appeals panel ruled June 22, finding that the scope of the law under which the order was issued did not extend to such documents (Shands Jacksonville Medical Center Inc. v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., No. 1D14-2001, Fla. App., 1st Dist.).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Florida Jury Hears Openings In Trial Of Suit Filed By Widower Of Longtime Smoker

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Trial got under way in Florida state court on June 23 with opening statements in a suit alleging that a woman's death from lung cancer and other smoking-related diseases was caused by her addiction to cigarettes (John McCoy, et al. v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 2008-CV-025806 (19), Fla. 17th Jud. Cir., Broward Co.).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Engle Plaintiff Says Court Should Look To Recent Case In Ruling On Motion

FORT MYERS, Fla. - A recent ruling upholding a $9 million punitive damages verdict in an Engle progeny case should be a factor in deciding whether an earlier order vacating an award of $20.76 million in punitive damages should be reconsidered, a Florida woman argues in a June 23 brief in a Florida federal court (Judith Berger v. Philip Morris USA Inc., et al., No. 3:09-cv-14157-WGY-HTS, M.D. Fla.).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Florida Federal Judge Allows Inmate To Amend Suit Against Tobacco Companies

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A Florida prison inmate who suffers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) may amend his complaint to indicate whether he alleges that his condition is linked to his 25 years of smoking and to specify the date of onset of his condition, a federal judge ruled June 22 (Benjamin Laflower v. Philip Morris USA Inc., et al., No. 3:10-227, M.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 80579).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Florida Federal Judge Denies New Trial, Remittitur Of $9M In Punitive Damages

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A $9 million punitive damages award to a woman who alleged that her 54 years of smoking caused her to develop peripheral vascular disease (PVD) that led to amputation of her legs is not excessive, a federal judge in Florida ruled June 18 (Donna Brown v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 3:09-10687, M.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 79980).

Mealey's IP/Tech - Sirius Wins Summary Judgment In Florida Copyright Case

MIAMI - Breaking with federal courts in New York and California in similar litigation, a Florida federal judge on June 22 found that Flo & Eddie Inc. have no public performance rights under Florida copyright common law in The Turtles' pre-1972 sound recordings (Flo & Eddie Inc. v. Sirius XM Radio Inc., No. 13-23182, S.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 80535).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - No New Trial For Engle Plaintiff On Time Statute, Florida Federal Judge Rules

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A jury's finding that an Engle plaintiff's claims are barred by the statute of limitations is supported by the evidence, a federal judge in Florida ruled June 18 (Karen Lennox v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No 3:09-cv-13744, M.D. Fla.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge: Plaintiffs Must Explain Why EPA's Delayed Response Is Unreasonable

TAMPA, Fla. - A federal judge in Florida on June 18 denied a motion for summary judgment filed by a woman and the Florida Wildlife Federation, ruling that the plaintiffs must explain why the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's failure to respond to their petition seeking revisions to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection's anti-degradation water quality standards requires the federal agency to make a necessity determination or provide an adequate explanation for denying the petition (Florida Wildlife Federation v. Gina McCarthy, Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, et al., No. 14-cv-3204, M.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 79176).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Florida Jury Awards $776,000 To Widow Of Smoker Who Died Of COPD

MIAMI - A Florida state court jury awarded $776,000 June 18 to the widow of a man who died of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) after more than 50 years of smoking (Joyce Hardin, et al. v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 07-46973-CA-22, Fla. 11th Jud. Cir., Miami-Dade Co.).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Florida Panel Reverses Court Costs Issue In Suit Over Decomposing Body Damages

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida appeals panel on June 17 reversed and remanded a lower court's ruling as to taxable court costs in a coverage dispute over damages sustained to the insured's condominium by leaking fluids from a decomposing body (Judy Rodrigo v. State Farm Florida Ins. Co., No. 4D13-3393, Fla. App., 4th Dist.; 2015 Fla. App. LEXIS 9263).

Mealey's Insurance - Florida Panel Reverses Court Costs Issue In Suit Over Decomposing Body Damages

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida appeals panel on June 17 reversed and remanded a lower court's ruling as to taxable court costs in a coverage dispute over damages sustained to the insured's condominium by leaking fluids from a decomposing body (Judy Rodrigo v. State Farm Florida Ins. Co., No. 4D13-3393, Fla. App., 4th Dist.; 2015 Fla. App. LEXIS 9263).

Mealey's Insurance - Court Erred In Compelling Appraisal Of Wilma Claim, Florida Panel Says, Reverses

MIAMI - A Florida appeals panel on June 17 found that a lower court erred when it compelled appraisal of an insured's supplemental Hurricane Wilma claim because the insured did not comply with his post-loss obligations under the policy, reversing and remanding (State Farm Florida Insurance Co. v. Alfredo Hernandez, No. 3D13-2263, Fla. App., 3rd Dist.; 2015 Fla. App. LEXIS 9215).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - U.K. Shipping Company Fined $750,000 For Dumping Oil Barrels From Vessel

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of New Jersey on June 17 announced that Norbulk Shipping UK Ltd., the operator of the M/V Murcia Carrier, was fined $750,000 for violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (APPS) by making false statements to the U.S. Coast Guard about the dumping of 20 barrels containing hydraulic oil into international waters off the coast of Florida while the vessel was in transit from Costa Rica to New Jersey.

Mealey's Insurance - Testing Exclusion Bars Coverage For Insured's Negligence, Judge Says

TAMPA, Fla. - A testing exclusion precludes coverage for an insured's alleged negligence in the performance of a roof test on a condominium building, a Florida federal judge ruled June 17 (Driggers Engineering Services Inc. v. CNA Financial Corp. and Valley Forge Insurance Co., No. 14-3155, M.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 78559).

Mealey's Health Law - DOJ: Florida Skilled Nursing Facility To Pay $17M Over Illegal Referrals

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Department of Justice announced June 16 that a Florida-based skilled nursing facility, its former president and executive director and its subsidiaries have agreed to pay $17 million to resolve allegations that it violated the False Claims Act (FCA) and Anti-Kickback Statute by improperly paying doctors for their referrals of Medicare patients to the defendants' facilities (United States of America, ex. rel. Stephen M. Beaujon v. Hebrew Homes Health Network Inc., et al., No. 12-cv-20951, S.D. Fla.).

Mealey's Insurance - DOJ: Florida Skilled Nursing Facility To Pay $17M Over Illegal Referrals

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Department of Justice announced June 16 that a Florida-based skilled nursing facility, its former president and executive director and its subsidiaries have agreed to pay $17 million to resolve allegations that it violated the False Claims Act (FCA) and Anti-Kickback Statute by improperly paying doctors for their referrals of Medicare patients to the defendants' facilities (United States of America, ex. rel. Stephen M. Beaujon v. Hebrew Homes Health Network Inc., et al., No. 12-cv-20951, S.D. Fla.).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Judge Preserves Expert Testimony In Lease Dispute For Bench Trial

TAMPA, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on June 15 declined to exclude testimony from two experts in a breach of contract case based on alleged unreliable methodology and lack of importance, saying there is less need for her to exercise her gatekeeping function as to expert testimony for a bench trial and that the objections to the testimony can be brought up again at trial (Apple Glen Investors, L.P., v. Express Scripts, Inc., No. 8:14-cv-1527; M.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 77060).

Mealey's Health Law - Government Files Intervener Complaint In Suit Against Ambulance Service Company

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The federal government filed an intervener complaint in Florida federal court on June 12 in a False Claims Act (FCA) and Anti-Kickback Statute lawsuit brought against an ambulance service company accused of engaging in a 10-year scheme in which it fraudulently billed Medicare for services that were medically unnecessary (United States of America v. Liberty Ambulance Services Inc., No. 15-cv-, M.D. Fla.).