FORT MYERS, Fla. - A condominium association sufficiently pleaded a claim for breach of duty against an insurer regarding denied coverage for a default judgment against an insured contractor over construction defect allegations, a Florida federal judge ruled Jan. 9 (Redfish Key Villas Condominium Association v. Amerisure Insurance Co., No. 13-241, M.D. Fla.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 2478).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 13 denied a plan participant's petition for a writ of certiorari seeking review of an 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that a health plan insurer did not abuse its discretion in calculating benefits and that the insurer was not liable for penalties for failing to disclose documents it relied on in calculating the amount of the benefit (Brian Fox v. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida Inc., No. 13-342, U.S. Sup.).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The statute of limitations for an insurer's legal malpractice lawsuit did not expire because an underlying construction defect case had not reached its finality when the parties entered a settlement agreement, a Florida appeals panel held Jan. 8, in reversing and remanding a trial judge's ruling (Arrowood Indemnity Co. v. Conroy, Simberg, Ganon, Krevans, Abel, Lurvey, Morrow & Schefer, P.A., et al., No. 4D12-3251, Fla. App., 4th Dist.).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Because an insured caused its property to become landlocked when it subdivided its property, a title insurer had no duty to defend the insured in an underlying dispute arising out of the property subdivision, the Fourth District Florida Court of Appeal said Jan. 8 (Palm Beach Polo Holdings Inc. v. Stewart Title Guaranty Co., Nos. 4D11-4660, 12-231, Fla. App., 4th Dist.; 2014 Fla. App. LEXIS 153).
ORLANDO, Fla. - Following a three-day trial in Florida federal court, a jury on Jan. 9 found that an insurer did not act in bad faith by failing to settle a third-party settlement demand by a woman injured in an auto accident caused by the insurer's policyholder (Lorinda Tanaka v. GEICO General Insurance Co., No. 6:11-cv-02002, M.D. Fla.).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Questions over whether an insurer acted in good faith in including an indemnification clause in a release form and in purportedly refusing to remove that clause are best left for a jury, a Florida federal judge held Jan. 6, denying the insurer's motion for summary judgment (Government Employees Insurance Co. v. Janet Prushansky, No. 9:12-cv-80556, S.D. Fla.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 1456).
ST. LOUIS - Insureds' failure to file a proof of loss for their debris removal costs stemming from a 2011 flood is a complete bar to their recovery under a federal flood insurance policy, the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Jan. 7, reversing and remanding a lower court's ruling in favor of the insureds (Thomas Dickson v. American Bankers Insurance Company of Florida, No. 13-1863, 8th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 237).
ATLANTA - Plaintiffs in a putative class action failed to address some of a trial court's alternative holdings for dismissing their claims related to their insurer's purported failure to offer lower rates in compliance with a Florida subsidized reinsurance law, an 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel held Jan. 7, finding that these abandoned issues doomed their appeal (David Sapuppo, et al. v. Allstate Floridian Insurance Co., No. 13-11558, 11th Cir.; 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 228).
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The First District Florida Court of Appeal on Jan. 3 affirmed all aspects of a $730,000 tobacco wrongful death verdict but certified to the state's Supreme Court conflict with another district on a jury instruction regarding the statute of repose (R.J. Reynolds v. Carolyn Hiott, Nos. 1D12-5956 and 1D12-6008, Fla. App., 1st Dist.; 2014 Fla. App. LEXIS 100).
LAKELAND, Fla. - The Second District Florida Court of Appeal on Jan. 3 overturned summary judgment for two defendants in a medical malpractice action, concluding that the plaintiffs' claims were not time-barred (Frances Young, et al. v. Naples Community Hospital Inc., et al., No. 2D12-3679, Fla. App., 2nd Dist.; 2014 Fla. App. LEXIS 71).
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - An estate whose representative opted out of Engle v. Liggett Group Inc. (945 So. 2d 1246 $(Fla. 2006$)) and failed to file a wrongful death lawsuit within the statute of limitations may not take advantage of claim tolling offered by class membership, the First District Florida Court of Appeal held Dec. 31, affirming the trial court (Wilmer P. Gaff v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, et al., No. 1D12-1874, Fla. App., 1st Dist.; 2013 Fla. App. LEXIS 20737).
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - An estate whose representative opted out of Engle v. Liggett Group Inc. (945 So. 2d 1246 [Fla. 2006]) and failed to file her wrongful death lawsuit within the statute of limitations may not take advantage of claim tolling offered by class membership, Florida's First District Court of Appeal said Dec. 31 (Lucy Roughton, as Personal Representative of the Estate of Daniel Dean Roughton v. R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, et al., No. 1D12-2848, Fla. App., 1st Dist.; 2013 Fla. App. LEXIS 20727).
ORLANDO, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on Dec. 30 dismissed an insurer's coverage action regarding its duty to defend and indemnify an underlying construction defect lawsuit that subsequently settled (Mt. Hawley Insurance Co. v. Park Avenue at Metrowest Ltd. and Hamptons at Metrowest Condominium Association Inc., No. 13-556, M.D. Fla.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 181129).
MIAMI - A Florida federal judge on Dec. 23 conditionally certified a class of armored-vehicle drivers seeking unpaid overtime but denied their motion for equitable tolling (Arturo Rojas, et al. v. Garda CL Southeast, Inc., No. 13-23173, S.D. Fla.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 179595).
FORT MYERS, Fla. - A federal judge in Florida on Dec. 26 granted summary judgment to the U.S. government in a student loan collection suit, finding that the debtor's defenses are not valid because the government, not the University of Miami, is the holder of the promissory notes at issue (United States of America v. Corrado C. Burdieri, No. 13-0748, M.D. Fla.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 180369).
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - A Florida appeals court has ordered a new trial in a case in which it previously forced a reduction to a $28.6 million verdict, saying the trial judge erred by giving only the plaintiff the option of a new trial if she was dissatisfied with his remittitur of damages (R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company v. Diane Webb, No. 1D12-5063, Fla. App., 1st Dist.; 2013 Fla. App. LEXIS 19913).
SAN FRANCISCO - Settlement of a Florida action bars California unfair competition law claims involving yogurt and cane juice labeling claims, and it is "implausible" that a reasonable consumer would confuse "soymilk" for a dairy beverage, a federal judge held Dec. 10 (Alex Ang and Kevin Avoy, et al. v. Whitewave Foods Co., et al., No. 13-1953, N.D. Calif.).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on Dec. 9 granted partial summary judgment for the defendant in a product liability class action, agreeing that the plaintiff did not have standing to bring claims for violations of consumer protection acts from states where she does not live (Lucille Renzi v. Demilec USA Inc., No. 12-80516, S.D. Fla.).
CINCINNATI - A federal judge in Ohio on Dec. 6 granted the Federal Trade Commission's request to transfer from an Ohio federal court to a Florida federal court its request for documents related to a suit alleging that a telemarketer tricked consumers into signing up for a bogus credit card interest rate reduction service (Federal Trade Commission v. A+ Financial Center LLC, No. 13-0050, S.D. Ohio; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 172472).
ATLANTA - A food company sales broker is not entitled to receive overtime pay under federal law, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Dec. 6, upholding a trial court's decision (Jerry Robin Reyes, et al. v. Goya Foods, Inc., d.b.a. Goya Foods of Florida, No. 13-12827, 11th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 24257).
MIAMI - Luxury goods manufacturer Louis Vuitton Malletier S.A. sufficiently established that a Brooklyn, N.Y., man operated two websites selling counterfeit goods and that he was subject to jurisdiction in Florida, an 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel found Dec. 2, denying the man's motion to vacate a default judgment against him for lack of jurisdiction (Louis Vuitton Malletier S.A. v. Joseph Mosseri, No. 12-12501, 11th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 23932).
SAN FRANCISCO - Although upholding a federal judge's finding that two defendants failed to meet their burden of proving trademark abandonment, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 2 nonetheless reversed a preliminary injunction barring those defendants from using "The Platters" trademark (Herb Reed Enterprises LLC v. Florida Entertainment Management Inc., No. 12-16868, 9th Cir.).
KANSAS CITY, Kan. - A Kansas federal judge on Nov. 26 denied an insurer's motion for summary judgment, finding that an issue of fact exists as to whether an accidental plumbing leak that caused water and mold issues at a home also caused structural damage to the property (Jeff and Stacie Coder v. American Bankers Insurance Company of Florida, No. 12-2231, D. Kan.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 167502).
TAMPA, Fla. - A federal judge in Florida on Nov. 26 approved an agreement that calls for law firm Band Weintraub to pay almost $1 million to settle allegations that it helped others evade a settlement with the receiver appointed in a suit arising from Arthur Nadel's $168 million Ponzi scheme (Securities and Exchange Commission v. Arthur Nadel, et al., No. 09-0087, M.D. Fla.).
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A jury's assignment of 100 percent of fault to a deceased smoker despite finding that she had been addicted to cigarettes and that her addiction was a legal cause of her death was not inconsistent given how the case was presented, a Florida federal judge said Nov. 22 in refusing to order a new trial (Robert Denton, as personal representative of the Estate of Linda Denton v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and Philip Morris USA, Inc., No. 3:09-cv-10036-WGY-JBT, M.D. Fla., Jacksonville Div.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 166383).