2 Dog Bite Injuries Constitute 2 Occurrences, Appeals Panel Majority Says

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - The majority of the Fifth District Florida Court of Appeal on Jan. 17 determined that two separate dog bites that occurred during one attack constitute two separate occurrences because the policy language at issue is susceptible to two different meanings (Crystal L. Maddox v. Florida Farm Bureau General, et al., No. 5D12-3577, Fla. App., 5th Dist.; 2014 Fla. App. LEXIS 497).

Judge: Insurer Has No Duty To Indemnify Settlement For Building Code Violations

ORLANDO, Fla. - A commercial general liability insurer has no duty to indemnify an insured for a $1.8 million settlement for building code violations because there was no evidence that non-excluded property damage occurred during the policy periods, a Florida federal judge held Jan. 17 (Trovillion Construction & Development Inc. v. Mid-Continent Casualty Co. and Casa Jardin Condominium Association Inc., No. 12-914, M.D. Fla.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 6265).

Florida Judge Grants Injunction In Trademark Dispute

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on Jan. 14 ordered several defendant websites accused of infringement to refrain from using the "Under Armour" trademark (Under Armour Inc. v. 51nfljersey.com et al., No. 13-62809, S.D. Fla.).

Psychology Expert Nixed In Florida False Imprisonment, Civil Rights Lawsuit

ORLANDO, Fla. - Expert testimony about the psychological injury suffered by a man handcuffed and detained by police for 30 minutes without arrest lacks a discernible methodology, a federal magistrate judge in Florida held Jan. 13 in excluding the opinion (John Olin v. Jerry Demings, et al., No. 6:12-cv-1455-Orl-28TBS, M.D. Fla.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 3892).

Judge: Fact Issues Exist As To Whether Broker, Insured Had A 'Special Relationship'

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida federal judge found Jan. 13 that there are genuine issues of material fact as to whether a "special relationship" existed between an insurance broker and a condominium association insured, denying the broker's renewed motion for summary judgment in a lawsuit arising from damage caused by Hurricanes Frances and Jeanne (Tiara Condominium Association Inc. v. Marsh USA Inc., No. 08-80254, S.D. Fla.; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 3677).

Breach Of Duty Claim Survives Against Insurer Over Construction Defect Claims

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).

High Court Will Not Review ERISA Benefit And Disclosure Claims

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.).

Limitations Statute Did Not Expire On Insurer's Legal Malpractice Suit, Panel Says

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.).

Title Insurer Owes No Coverage For Property Dispute, Florida Panel Says

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).

Jury Finds No Bad Faith By GEICO In Third-Party Claim By Accident Victim

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.).

Judge: Fact Questions Exist Over Insurer's Good Faith In Release Indemnity Clause

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).

Panel: Failure To File Proof Of Loss For Debris Removal Completely Bars Recovery

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).

11th Circuit Deems Insureds' Claims Over Florida Subsidized Reinsurance Abandoned

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).

Florida Appeals Court Affirms Tobacco Verdict But Notes Conflict On Repose

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).

Florida Appeals Panel: Notice Properly Given To Medical Defendants

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).

Florida Appeals Court Affirms Dismissal Of Engle Opt Out

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).

Florida Appeals Court: Engle Opt Out Does Not Enjoy Class Tolling

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).

Judge Dismisses Insurer's Case Over Duty To Defend, Indemnify Defect Lawsuit

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).

Class Of Armored-Truck Drivers Conditionally Certified In Wage Dispute

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).

Federal Judge Awards Judgment To Government In Student Loan Dispute

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).

Florida Appeals Court Orders New Trial In $28.6 Million Tobacco Verdict

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).

Florida Settlement, Claim's Implausibility Bar 'Soymilk' Action, Judge Says

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.).

Florida Federal Judge Drops Claim Against Insulation Product Company

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.).

Judge Transfers FTC's Subpoena Dispute To Florida Federal Court

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).

11th Circuit: Sales Broker Not Entitled To Overtime

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).