LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
Florida Federal Judge Lifts Stay Of Seamans' Claims Against Cruise Line

MIAMI - A Florida federal judge on May 24 lifted a previously imposed stay of case that was filed by cruise line workers who seek damages for allegedly withheld wages, dismissing the case so that the workers can appeal an order compelling arbitration of their claims (Kenneth Downer, et al. v. Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., No. 11-21948, S.D. Fla.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 74135).

Non-Engle Tobacco Plaintiff May Not Rely On Class Facts, Florida Federal Judge Rules

TAMPA, Fla. - A plaintiff whose decedent is not a member of the Florida tobacco class in Engle v. Liggett Group Inc. (945 So. 2d 1246 [Fla. 2006]) may not rely on the preclusive elements of that case but must set out and prove her own allegations, a Florida federal judge said in a May 21 opinion dismissing the claims without prejudice (Tammie P. Liason, et al. v. Lorillard Tobacco Company, et al., No. 8:13-cv-1115, M.D. Fla.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 71766).

Federal Judge Awards Default Judgment To Consumer In Debt-Collection Action

TAMPA, Fla. - A federal judge in Florida on May 21 entered a $2,000 default judgment in favor of a consumer, finding that she sufficiently alleged violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act (FCCPA) (Jessica R. Martinez v. Commercial Recovery Systems Inc., No. 13-0391, M.D. Fla.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 71765).

Medtronic Pacemaker Case Dismissed With Prejudice; No Duty To Warn Patient

ORLANDO, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on May 16 dismissed a pacemaker suit with prejudice after rejecting the plaintiff's argument that manufacturer defendant Medtronic Inc. had a duty to a plaintiff to report device problems to the Food and Drug Administration (Peggy McClelland v. Medtronic, Inc., No. 6:11-1444, M.D. Fla.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 69675).

Judge: Consumer's Debt Collection, Credit Reporting Claims Not Time-Barred

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A federal judge in Florida on May 17 declined to dismiss a consumer's debt collection and credit reporting claims against a debt collector, ruling that the consumer's claims were not time-barred under their respective statutes of limitations (John Pinson v. Wagner & Hunt, et al., No. 12-81158, S.D. Fla.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 70435).

Kansas Federal Judge Grants Insurer's Motion To Amend Answer

TOPEKA, Kan. - A Kansas federal judge on May 16 permitted an insurer to amend its answer to add an affirmative defense because the insureds will not be prejudiced by the amendment and because the insurer showed good cause for the delay in seeking the amendment (Jeff Coder, et al. v. American Bankers Insurance Company of Florida, No. 12-2231, D. Kan.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 69882).

Federal Judge Denies Dismissal Of Claim From Loan Participation Action

FORT MYERS, Fla. - A federal judge in Florida on May 16 declined the request to dismiss a breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing claim from a suit arising from a loan participation agreement, disagreeing with the defendant bank's assertion that the plaintiff bank did not assert an implied covenant as part of its breach of contract claim (Pacific Premier Bank v. Shamrock Bank of Florida, et al., No. 12-0636, M.D. Fla.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 69674).

Beneficiary Claim Fails Against Insurance Broker, Federal Judge Concludes

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A third-party beneficiary claim fails against an insurance broker for its alleged failure to obtain proper insurance because there was no judgment obtained, a Florida federal judge ruled May 9 (Fireman's Fund Insurance Co. a/s/o Environmental Chemical and Environmental Chemical Corp. v. Landstar Ranger Inc. v. Got Your Back Pilot Cars LLC n/k/a Got UR Back Pilot Cars LLC, No. 11-1241, M.D. Fla.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 66253).

Judge Compels International Arbitration of Seaman's Claims Against Cruise Line

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on May 13 refused to remand a cruise line worker's injury-related claims to a state court, finding that he was required to arbitrate the dispute pursuant to the rules of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) under the terms of his employment contract (German Yvan Segersbol v. Celebration Cruise Operator Inc., No. 13-60644, S.D. Fla.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 67750).

Florida Federal Judge Dismisses Flight Attendant's Lawsuit For Lack Of Jurisdiction

ORLANDO. Fla. - The chemical exposure personal injury lawsuit of a flight crew member against the manufacturers of the aircraft on which he worked was dismissed May 10 in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida for lack of jurisdiction; the plaintiff failed to meet his burden to establish diversity, according to the presiding judge (Chad Blatchley v. McDonnell Douglas Corp., et al., No. 12-1605, M.D. Fla.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 66954).

Committee Movants In Rothstein Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Want Subpoenas Quashed

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A group called the Committee Movants in the Chapter 11 bankruptcy of Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler (RRA), the former law firm of convicted Ponzi scheme operator Scott Rothstein, on May 13 moved in a Florida bankruptcy court to quash subpoenas on grounds that they do not identify who is seeking discovery and that some of the discovery sought is privileged (In Re: Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler, No. 09-34791, Chapter 11, S.D. Fla. Bkcy.).

11th Circuit Affirms Damages, Reverses Fee Ruling In Trademark Case

ATLANTA - A Florida judge abused his discretion in failing to discuss and apply the correct standard in denying a prevailing trademark infringement plaintiff permanent injunctive relief, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled May 10 (Slep-Tone Entertainment Corp. v. Faye Johnson et al., No. 12-14304, 11th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 9515).

$16.8M Tobacco Verdict Is Vacated Over Failure To Prove Engle Membership

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - A Florida appeals court vacated a $16.8 million tobacco wrongful death verdict and ordered a new trial, saying in a May 10 opinion that the trial judge did not require the plaintiff to prove membership in the class Engle v. Liggett Group Inc. (945 So. 2d 1246 $(Fla. 2006$)); See October 2007, Page 4) before allowing her to use that case's preclusive findings (Philip Morris USA Inc. v. Andy R. Allen Sr., No. 1D11-6061, Fla. App., 1st Dist.).

Wash. Federal Judge: Debt Collector Failed To Prove Dismissal Of TCPA Class Suit

SEATTLE - A debt collector failed to prove its motion to dismiss a Florida woman's class complaint that alleged repeated automated calls to her cellular phone violated federal law, a Florida federal judge ruled May 8 (Devon Meyer v. Receivables Performance Management, LLC, No. 12-2013, W.D. Wash.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 65918).

Coverage Owed For Chinese Drywall Claims, Florida Federal Judge Determines

TAMPA. Fla. - Insurers have a duty to defend their insured in underlying suits alleging property damage as a result of defective Chinese drywall distributed by the insured because the underlying suits do not allege claims that fall within the policies' pollution and health hazard exclusions, a Florida federal judge said May 8 (American Home Assurance Co., et al. v. Arrow Terminals Inc., et al., No. 11-1278, M.D. Fla.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 65610).

Fla. Federal Judge Dismisses Suit Alleging Insurer Schemed To Avoid Paying Rebates

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on May 7 dismissed a putative class action case against a health insurer and a third-party administrator accused of inflating medical loss ratios to avoid paying rebates for excessive premiums to subscribers as mandated by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) for lack of standing and ordered arbitration for claims against a second third-party administrator (MRI Scan Center v. National Imaging Associates Inc., et al., No. 13-60051, S.D. Fla.).

Florida Appeals Panel: Judge Improperly Dropped Claims Against Hospital

LAKELAND, Fla. - The Second District Florida Court of Appeal on May 3 overturned summary judgment for a hospital named as the defendant in a medical malpractice case, concluding that a decision whether the hospital can be held liable for the actions of its employees was not resolved by the trial court (Herbert Cintron, et al. v. St. Joseph's Hospital Inc., No. 2D12-494, Fla. App., 2nd Dist.; 2013 Fla. App. LEXIS 7208).

Federal Judge Allows Expert Testimony In FDIC's Suit

TAMPA, Fla. - In a suit in which the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., as the receiver for a failed bank, alleged that a law firm committed malpractice and breached its fiduciary duty to the bank in relation to a real estate acquisition, a federal judge in Florida on May 1 denied the firm's motion to exclude as improper expert testimony by the FDIC's expert, in part because the defendants' arguments are moot (Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. v. Icard, Merrill, Cullis, Timm, Furen & Ginsburg P.A., et al., No. 11-2831, M.D. Fla.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 63709).

Federal Judge Denies Insurer's Summary Judgment Motion Regarding Defense, Indemnity

ORLANDO, Fla. - A commercial general liability insurer's summary judgment motion regarding its duty to defend and indemnify an underlying construction case is premature, a Florida federal judge ruled May 1 (North Pointe Insurance Co. v. Global Roofing & Sheet Metal Inc., et al., No. 12-476, M.D. Fla.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 62196).

Travel Agency Employees Awarded More Than $20M For Harassment, Retaliation

TAMPA, Fla. - A Florida federal jury on April 30 awarded eight former travel agency employees, in a lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a total of $20,251,963 based on their allegations of sexual harassment and retaliation (United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Four Amigos Travel, Inc., et al., No. 11-1163, M.D. Fla.).

Bankruptcy Judge Proposes Dismissal Of Insolvent Insurer's Breach Of Duty Claim

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida bankruptcy judge on April 30 proposed that an insolvent insurer's breach of fiduciary duty claim against its former director be dismissed based on a lack of personal jurisdiction (British American Insurance Company Ltd. v. Robert Fullerton, et al., No. 11-03118, S.D. Fla. Bkcy.; 2013 Bankr. LEXIS 1755).

Florida Federal Judge Affirms Order Revoking Facility Billing Privileges

MIAMI - A federal judge in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida on April 30 affirmed a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) ruling that an outpatient rehabilitation facility's Medicare billing privileges were properly revoked because the facility was not properly staffed with qualified medical professionals (CompRehab Wellness Group Inc. v. Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services, No. 1:11cv23377, S.D. Fla.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 61567).

Guarantor Must Pay Back Company's Loan, Federal Judge Rules

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A federal judge in Florida on April 29 granted summary judgment to Branch Banking and Trust Co. (BB&T), which sued to recover on loans it acquired from a failed bank, finding that a guarantor "guaranteed that he would pay" a corporation's debt "in clear and unambiguous terms" (Branch Banking and Trust Co. v. Hamilton Greens LLC, et al., No.11-80507, S.D. Fla.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 60675).

Florida Appeals Panel: New Trial Necessary For Construction Contract Case

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The Fourth District Florida Court of Appeal on April 24 remanded a construction contract dispute to the trial court for a new trial on damages and a determination of the correct amount of a construction lien (Christos N. Kritikos, et al. v. John T. Andersen, et al., No. 4D11-43, Fla. App., 4th Dist.; 2013 Fla. App. LEXIS 6549).

11th Circuit: Participant's Benefits-Denial And Disclosure Claims Fail

ATLANTA - A plan insurer's calculation of benefits due to a participant for his out-of-network surgery was not wrong under the plan terms, and the insurer did not violate the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by failing to provide documents on which the insurer relied to calculate and verify the benefits due, the 11th Circuit affirmed April 22 (Brian Fox v. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida Inc., No. 12-14569, 11th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 7906).