Federal Circuit Affirms Denial Of Judgment As A Matter Of Law In Patent Case

WASHINGTON, D.C. - A patent infringement defendant's efforts to overturn a series of rulings by a Florida federal judge failed Aug. 28, when the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals upheld the district court in its entirety (Woodrow Woods et al. v. DeAngelo Marine Exhaust Inc.,  No. 10-1478, Fed. Cir.).

Capital One's Request For Injunction, Sanctions Denied In Credit Card Suit

TAMPA, Fla. - In a settled class action targeting Capital One Bank USA's payment protection program, a federal judge in Florida on Aug. 21 denied the defendants' motion seeking an injunction to enjoin the attorneys general of Hawaii and Mississippi from prosecuting cases against the defendants and seeking the imposition of monetary sanctions against the plaintiffs' law firm Golomb & Honik (Kenneth Spinelli, et al. v. Capital One Bank USA, et al., No.08-00132, M.D. Fla.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 118667).

Florida Court Issues Revised Opinion, Once Again Applies 3rd Restatement

MIAMI - A Florida appeals court on Aug. 22 denied reconsideration in an asbestos case but withdrew its original opinion and once again applied the Restatement (Third) of Torts in a case against an asbestos supplier (Union Carbide Corp. v. William P. Aubin,  No. 3D10-1982, Fla. App., 3rd Dist.).

11th Circuit: Employee Wellness Program Does Not Violate Federal Disability Act

ATLANTA - A Florida county's employee wellness program does not violate the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) because it falls within the ADA's safe harbor provision for insurance plans, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Aug. 20, affirming a trial court (Bradley Seff v. Broward County, Florida,  No. 11-12217, 11th Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 17501).

Florida Court Affirms Tobacco Plaintiff's Claims Were Filed Untimely

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Despite some earlier symptoms, a Florida former smoker discovered his smoking-related illness too late to be included in a class that would have tolled the statute of limitations, the First District Florida Court of Appeal said Aug. 17, making his lawsuit untimely (Lewis E. Castleman, et ux. v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. 1D11-4258, Fla. App., 1st Dist.).

Florida Panel Affirms Dismissal Of Prematurely Filed Bad Faith Complaint

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida appeals panel on Aug. 15 affirmed a lower court's dismissal of an insured's complaint that an insurer acted in bad faith in handling its Hurricane Wilma claim, finding that it was prematurely filed (Lime Bay Condominium Inc. v. State Farm Florida Insurance Co.,  No. 4D11-3421, Fla. App., 4th Dist.; 2012 Fla. App. LEXIS 13563).

Commerce Bank Settles Overdraft Fee MDL Claims For $18 Million

MIAMI - Commerce Bank NA became the latest bank to settle claims in a multidistrict litigation alleging that banks manipulated customers' debit card transactions to charge overdraft fees, agreeing to pay $18.3 million to exit the suit, according to a document the plaintiffs filed Aug. 14 in a federal court in Florida (In Re: Checking Account Overdraft Litigation, No. 09-md-2036, S.D. Fla.).  View related prior history, 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 13836.

Federal Judge Dismisses Student Loan Debtor's Garnishment Suit

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A federal judge in Florida on Aug. 10 dismissed a suit in which a student loan debtor alleges that her employer wrongly withheld portions of her salary pursuant to a wage garnishment order (Margaret Jallali v. USA Funds, et al.,  No.11-62510, S.D. Fla.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 113578).

Judge Overturns Portion Of Ruling Allowing Deposition Question To Claims Adjuster

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A federal judge in Florida on Aug. 14 overturned a magistrate judge's ruling requiring a claims adjuster to answer questions about an insurance company's decision to not offer a payment in excess of the limits of a plaintiff's insurance policy to another party involved in an automobile accident because the information is privileged (Sandra K. Trujillo, et al. v. USAA Casualty Insurance Company,  No. 11-80320-CIV-ROSENBAUM/SELTZER, S.D. Fla.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 114376).

Federal Judge Reconsiders Aiding-And-Abetting Ponzi Claims Against Bank

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - In light of a recent 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals opinion, a federal judge in Florida on Aug. 10 granted Wells Fargo Bank NA's motion to reconsider an order denying its motion to dismiss aiding and abetting claims related to a Ponzi scheme (Jonathan E. Perlman v. Wells Fargo Bank N.A.,  No. 10-81612, S.D. Fla.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 112639).

Federal Judge Remands Cruise Line Worker's Claims To Florida Court

MIAMI - After determining that no signed arbitration agreement existed, as required by the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards, a federal judge on Aug. 10 refused to compel arbitration and remanded claims asserted by two cruise line employees to a Florida state court (Andrea Cappello, et al. v. Carnival Corp.,  No. 12-22181, S.D. Fla.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 112748).

Majority Reverses Dismissal Of Former Condo Unit Owners' Suit Against Insurer

MIAMI - A majority of a Florida appeals court on Aug. 8 reversed a lower court's dismissal of a class action lawsuit filed by former condominium unit owners against the condominium association's insurer, finding that the buyer of the condominiums was not prohibited from assigning its potential insurance claims to the former owners (Ramon Castellanos, et al. v. Citizens Property Insurance Corporation, et al.,  No. 3D10-1497, Fla. App., 3rd Dist.; 2012 Fla. App. LEXIS 13056).

Coverage For Fraud Losses Barred By Retroactive Date Rider Provisions, Judge Rules

MIAMI - A financial institution bond's retroactive date rider provision precludes an insured's claim for losses caused by fraud, a Florida federal judge ruled Aug. 9, granting an insurer's cross-motion for summary judgment (ABCO Premium Finance LLC v. American International Group Inc., et al., No. 11-23020-CIV-SCOLA/BANDSTRA, S.D. Fla.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 111833).

Failed Bank's Directors Earn Partial Dismissal Of FDIC's Negligence Claims

FORT MYERS, Fla. - A federal judge in Florida on Aug. 8 partially dismissed a suit in which the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. alleges that the directors of a failed bank negligently approved loans that were not repaid, holding that the FDIC did not properly state a claim for a violation of Florida law but finding that the FDIC has properly stated a claim for gross negligence under the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act of 1989 (FIRREA) 12 U.S.C.S. § 1821. (Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. v. Stephen L. Price, et al.,  No. 12-00148, M.D. Fla.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 111115).

Judge: Karaoke Company Need Not Name Operators In Claim Against Restaurant

TAMPA, Fla. - A company that supplies karaoke compact disks need not name a karaoke operator to sustain claims of vicarious infringement and unfair competition and trade practices against the restaurant that hired the operator, a Florida federal judge said Aug. 3, denying a motion to dismiss (Slep-Tone Entertainment Corporation v. Il Mio Sogno, LLC,  No. 8:12-cv-1187-T-30EAJ, M.D. Fla.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 108702).

Florida Federal Judge: New Trial Not Necessary For Defective Water Reservoir Case

TAMPA, Fla. - A federal judge in Florida on Aug. 3 denied a motion for a new trial filed after a defense verdict was reached in a construction defects case involving an allegedly defectively designed water reservoir, concluding that the jury's verdict absolving an engineering firm of negligently designing the reservoir was not against the weight of the evidence (Tampa Bay Water v. HDR Engineering Inc.,  No. 8:08-CV-2446, M.D. Fla.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 108683).

Federal Judge Pares Claims Against Banks In Ponzi Action

TAMPA, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on Aug. 2 dismissed aiding and abetting claims from a suit accusing Wells Fargo Bank NA and Wachovia Bank NA of failing to detect convicted hedge fund manager Arthur G. Nadel's $168 million Ponzi scheme but allowed other claims to remain (Burton W. Wiand v. Wells Fargo Bank N.A., et al., No. 12-00557, M.D. Fla.). Subscribers may view the opinion available within the full article.

Florida Appeals Panel: New Trial Inappropriate; Accident Injury Verdict Stands

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida Court of Appeal panel on Aug. 1 overturned a trial court decision to grant a new trial in an automobile accident action, ruling that it was an error to find that the jury was misled by instructions it was given before returning a verdict for the plaintiff (Rosalva Costa v. Joseph Aberle,  No. 4D10-2461, Fla. App., 4th Dist.; 2012 Fla. App. LEXIS 12533).

Panel: Fact Issue Exists As To Whether Insurer Was Prejudiced By Untimely Notice

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida appeals panel on Aug. 1 found that there is a genuine issue of material fact regarding whether an insurer was prejudiced by any failure of its insureds to comply with the policy's notice provisions, reversing and remanding a lower court's summary judgment ruling in favor of the insurer in a Hurricane Wilma coverage dispute (Jack Leben, et al. v. State Farm Florida Insurance Company, No. 4D10-3833, Fla. App., 4th Dist.; 2012 Fla. App. LEXIS 12522).

HTC Severed From Florida Smartphone Patent Litigation

MIAMI - A motion to sever and transfer filed by patent infringement counterclaim defendants HTC Corp., HTC America Inc., One & Company Design Inc. and HTC America Innovation Inc. (HTC, collectively) was granted July 31 by a Florida federal judge, who relied on the recently enacted America Invents Act (AIA) in support of his ruling (Apple Inc. v. Motorola Mobility Inc. et al.,  No. 12-20271, S.D. Fla.; Apple Inc. v. Motorola Mobility Inc. et al., No. 10-23580, S.D. Fla.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 106398).

1 More Settlement, Multiple Dismissals In Overdraft Fees MDL

MIAMI - A Florida federal judge on Aug. 1 granted one motion to dismiss and denied one motion to dismiss in the multidistrict litigation alleging the improper collection of overdraft fees of their customers (In Re: Checking Account Overdraft Litigation, No. 09-2036, S.D. Fla.).

Judge: Fact Issues Exist On Relationship Between Insurance Agent, Insurer

TAMPA, Fla. - Genuine issues of material fact remain with regard to an alleged agency relationship between an insurance agent and an insurer, a Florida federal judge held July 30, denying summary judgment to insureds who allege that the insurance agent negligently procured their policy (Great American Assurance Co. v. Sanchuk LLC and Chuck Elliott v. Great American Assurance Co. and Wellington F. Roemer Insurance Agency Inc.,  No. 10-2568, M.D. Fla.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 105477).

6th Circuit Affirms Dismissal Of Insurer's Declaratory Complaint In Bad Faith Case

CINCINNATI - A Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on July 26 held that a Florida court would be better suited to determine contractual and bad faith claims related to an accident that occurred in that state, affirming a lower court's dismissal of an insurer's declaratory judgment action in Michigan federal court (Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Co. v. A. Eric Bohms, et al., No 11-2083, 6th Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 15599).

Divided Federal Circuit Dismisses Appeal Of Sanction Order In Patent Case

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Finding "no indication" that a Florida federal judge's order granting sanctions in a patent case is "inextricably intertwined with or necessary" to review a decision on the merits for summary judgment in a patent case, the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 26 declined an opportunity to exercise pendent jurisdiction and instead dismissed the appeal (Alexander S. Orenshteyn v. Citrix Systems Inc.,  No. 11-1308, Fed. Cir.).

Federal Judge: Agency's Letter Did Not Violate Debt Collection Statute

TAMPA, Fla. - A federal judge in Florida on July 27 dismissed a Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) 15 U.S.C.S. §§1692 et seq. suit, finding that a reasonable jury applying the "least sophisticated consumer" standard could not find that the letter the defendant collection agency sent to the plaintiff consumer was deceptive or that the inclusion of a telephone number for Spanish speakers overshadowed the FDCPA's notice requirement (Jaime Molina v. Healthcare Revenue Recovery Group LLC,  No. 11-01642, M.D. Fla.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 104790).