OCALA, Fla. - A Florida federal magistrate judge on Oct. 8 denied an insured's motion to compel the production of documents to determine whether two professional liability insurance policy exclusions are ambiguous, finding that the requested interpretative materials are irrelevant in a coverage dispute arising from fungal eye infections allegedly caused by the insured's eye products (Evanston Insurance Co. v. Franck's Lab Inc., et al., No. 12-603, M.D. Fla.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 145536).
ORLANDO, Fla. - A Florida federal court entered judgment in favor of an insurer on Oct. 8 in a lawsuit seeking coverage for a $20.8 million default judgment entered against an insured, finding that the insured failed to satisfy its claims-reporting obligation under a title agent's professional liability insurance policy (Lake Buena Vista Vacation Resort L.C. v. Gotham Insurance Co., No: 6:12-cv-1680-Orl-31DAB, M.D. Fla.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 144729).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 7 again refused to take up a Florida Supreme Court decision giving preclusive effect to liability findings from a tobacco class action trial that tobacco companies say violates their due process rights under the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (Philip Morris USA Inc., et al. v. James L. Douglas, No. 13-191, U.S. Sup.).
LAKELAND, Fla. - A Florida appeals panel on Oct. 4 reversed and remanded a lower court's finding that a commercial general liability insurer has a duty to defend and indemnify its insureds against negligence claims stemming from a wrongful death (Essex Insurance Co. v. Integrated Drainage Solutions, Inc., et al., No. 2D12-3146, Fla. App., 2nd Dist.; 2013 Fla. App. LEXIS).
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 file a second amended complaint to correct her failure to state sufficient facts, a Florida federal judge said Oct. 1, also denying a defense motion to dismiss (Tammie P. Liason, et al. v. Lorillard Tobacco Company, et al., No. 8:13-cv-1115, M.D. Fla.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 141758).
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Unnamed children in Florida who have been diagnosed as "medically fragile" were denied class certification on Sept. 25 in their federal suit alleging that state officials have discriminated against them and other minors by unnecessarily placing them in institutions (A.R., et al. v. Elizabeth Dudek, et al., No. 12-60460, S.D. Fla.).
MIAMI - An insurer's appeals of three orders in a long-running coverage dispute are based on nonfinal, nonappealable rulings, a panel in the Third District Florida Court of Appeal ruled Sept. 25, finding the matters to be related and intertwined with facts in remaining coverage and bad faith claims pending in a lower court (GEICO General Insurance Co. v. William Pruitt, et al., No. 3D12-1928, 3D12-1926 and 3D12-1923, Fla. App., 3rd Dist.; 2013 Fla. App. LEXIS 15201).
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - A Florida appeals court on Sept. 27 affirmed a trial court's decision to grant an injunction and judgment in favor of a homeowners association that required a resident to clean up mold but reversed a decision that found that he failed to properly maintain landscaping (John Boyle v. Hernando Beach South Property Owners Association, No. 5D12-2993, Fla. App.; 5th Dist.; 2013 Fla. App. LEXIS 152).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida appeals court has vacated $25 million in punitive damages from a $29.1 million total verdict, saying Sept. 25 that the trial judge erred by striking the defendant's statute of repose defense on fraudulent concealment and conspiracy to commit fraud by concealment (R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company v. Connie Buonomo, No. 4D10-3543, Fla. App., 4th Dist.; 2013 Fla. App. LEXIS 15117).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida state court jury ordered two tobacco companies to pay $3.8 million to the widow of a man who died of lung cancer (Kathleen Gafney v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. et al., No. 50-2007-CA-020540, Fla. 15th Judicial Cir., Palm Beach Co.).
MIAMI - A federal judge in Florida on Sept. 23 adopted a magistrate judge's recommendation to grant a title insurer's motion for summary judgment in a suit the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., as the receiver for BankUnited FSB (BankUnited), filed against it, asserting breach of contract regarding two loans (Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. v. Floridian Title Group Inc., et al., No. 12-21890, S.D. Fla.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 135650).
TAMPA, Fla. - A dispute over allegedly unauthorized use of the "Wyndham" trademarks will proceed, a Florida federal judge ruled Sept. 19 (Wyndham Hotels and Resorts LLC et al. v. Timeshares Direct Inc. et al., No. 13-195, M.D. Fla.).
MIAMI - A tobacco wrongful death plaintiff may introduce evidence that tobacco companies used ammonia compounds allegedly to boost the addictiveness of cigarette tobacco, and a disputed expert will be allowed to testify with limitations, a Florida federal judge said in a Sept. 20 decision (Ronnie L. Jacobson, et al. v. Philip Morris USA Inc., et al., No. 1:12-cv-23781, S.D. Fla.)
ORLANDO, Fla. - A Florida federal jury on Sept. 20 found that Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp. failed to warn a cancer patient about the risk of osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ) and awarded her $1.3 million in medical expenses and non-economic damages (Nancy Guenther, et al. v. Novartis Pharmaceutical Corporation, No. 6:08-456, M.D. Fla., Orlando Div.).
LAKELAND, Fla. - A Florida appeals panel on Sept. 18 reversed and remanded an $8 million judgment against a homeowners insurer, finding that a new trial is warranted in a coverage dispute over alleged property damage caused by construction defects, rain and wind (American Home Assurance Co., Inc., v. John Robert Sebo, et al., No. 2D11-4063, Fla. App., 2nd Dist.; 2013 Fla. App. LEXIS 14799).
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A Florida jury on Sept. 17 awarded a man $8 million for asbestos-related mesothelioma and held gasket-maker Crane Co. and cigarette manufacturers Lorillard Tobacco Co. liable. Sources said it is believed to be the largest ever verdict against Lorillard for an asbestos-related injury (Richard DeLisle v. Crane Co., et al., No. N/A, Fla. Cir., Broward Co.).
TAMPA, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on Sept. 16 denied an insurer's motion to dismiss an insured's breach of contract lawsuit seeking coverage under a staffing-services liability insurance policy (Beacon Industrial Staffing Inc., et al. v. National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, P.A., No: 8:13-cv-1715-T-30, M.D. Fla.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 132067).
MIAMI - A federal judge in Florida on Sept. 17 denied a closing agent's motion for summary judgment in a suit filed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., as the receiver for BankUnited FSB, asserting claims including negligent misrepresentation in relation to five mortgage loans (Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. v. Floridian Title Group Inc., et al., No. 12-21890, S.D. Fla.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 132662).
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on Sept. 13 granted a temporary restraining order (TRO) to six manufacturers of golf balls, bags, putters and related supplies against the operators of a list of accused counterfeiter websites, ordering temporary shutdown of the sites (Acushnet Co., et al. v. Onlinegolfsale.us, et al., No. 0:13-cv-61895, S.D. Fla.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 131133).
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A Florida federal judge has remitted a $26 million tobacco wrongful death verdict to $4.34 million, saying Sept. 12 that the jury's award "shocks the judicial conscience" (Cheryl Searcy v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., 3:09-cv-13723-J-34, M.D. Fla.).
MIAMI - A tobacco wrongful death plaintiff may not introduce evidence of additives in cigarette tobacco, a Florida federal judge said in a Sept. 11 decision, because an expert's report does not touch on the question (Ronnie L. Jacobson, et al. v. Philip Morris USA Inc., et al., No. 1:12-cv-23781, S.D. Fla.).
MIAMI - JPMorgan Chase Bank N.A. said in a Sept. 6 motion for preliminary approval filed in Florida federal court that it would pay $300 million to resolve claims brought by a class claiming that the bank overcharged borrowers when obtaining force-placed insurance policies for them if they let the hazard insurance on their homes lapse (Alfred Herrick v. JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A., et al., No. 13-cv-201107, S.D. Fla.).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A federal judge in Florida on Sept. 6 denied a motion to sever claims in a suit by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., as the receiver for a failed bank, against the closing agent on a loan, finding that there is no basis to sever the case (Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. v. Mario D. German Law Center P.A., No. 12-81298, S.D. Fla.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 127381).
ATLANTA - Saying it is required to abide by a state court ruling unless that ruling is constitutionally defective, the 11th Circuit U. S. Court of Appeals on Sept. 6 affirmed two small verdicts that R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. (RJR) had appealed, saying the trials' conduct violated RJR's due process rights (R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. v. Pauline Walker, et al., No. 12-13500, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al. v George Duke III, No. 12-14731, 11th Cir.).
LAKELAND, Fla. - A "your product" exclusion in a commercial general liability insurance policy is applicable to the cost of replacing an insured's defective doors, a Florida appeals panel ruled Sept. 4, reversing in part a trial court's decision that an insurer had to pay $3.4 million for the settlement of several defective product lawsuits (Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Co. v. MI Windows Doors Inc. f/k/a MI Home Products Inc., Nos. 2D12-2793 & 2D12-2800, Fla. App., 2nd Dist.; 2013 Fla. App. LEXIS 14141).