MIAMI - A Florida appellate court majority on Aug. 28 found that there is a material question of fact regarding insureds' notice of their alleged property damage loss stemming from Hurricane Wilma, reversing a lower court's ruling in favor of the homeowners insurer in a breach of contract dispute (Paul and Fely Siguenza v. Citizens Property Insurance Corp., No. 3D12-1337, Fla. App., 3rd Dist.; 2013 Fla. App. LEXIS 13686).
TAMPA, Fla. - A precious metal dealer can proceed with claims that a competing website copied its product descriptions and photographs without permission, a Florida federal judge ruled Aug. 28 (Gainesville Coins LLC v. BCG Ventures Inc., d/b/a Vanguard Capital Group, No. 13-1402, M.D. Fla.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 122644).
MIAMI - A federal judge in Florida on Aug. 27 dismissed putative class action complaints from a multidistrict litigation in which bank customers allege that several banks manipulated the order of debit card transactions to maximize checking account overdraft fees, finding that the arbitration provisions KeyBank N.A. and Wells Fargo & Co. customers signed are enforceable (In Re: Checking Account Overdraft Litigation, No. 09-md-02036, S.D. Fla.).
TAMPA, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on Aug. 23 found a statutory damages award of $25,000 to be "a sufficient deterrent against any future wrongful conduct" by a woman found to have willfully shared a copyrighted movie over the Internet (Bait Products Pty Ltd. v. Angelica Murray, No. 8:13-cv-00169, M.D. Fla.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 120170).
FORT MYERS, Fla. - A Florida federal court entered judgment in favor of a commercial general liability insurer on Aug. 27 in a dispute over coverage for an underlying trademark dispute (Power Corp. v. Amerisure Insurance Co., No. 2:12-cv-192-FtM-29DNF, M.D. Fla.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 121077).
MIAMI - A tobacco wrongful death plaintiff may not recover punitive damages for the unintentional torts of strict liability and negligence, a Florida federal judge said in an Aug. 26 decision that allowed punitive damages on other counts and otherwise rejected the defendants' motion for summary judgment (Ronnie L. Jacobson, et al. v. Philip Morris USA Inc., et al., No. 1:12-cv-23781, S.D. Fla.).
TAMPA, Fla. - Citing recent precedent from the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, a Florida federal judge on Aug. 21 found that under the "totality of the circumstances standard," an insured who was exposed to an excess liability judgment in an underlying judgment has sufficiently pleaded bad faith claims against his auto insurer, denying the insurer's dismissal motion (Kenneth E. Hayas v. GEICO General Insurance Co., No. 8:13-cv-01432, M.D. Fla.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 118696).
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on Aug. 22 determined that California law governed a dispute over coverage for a Florida personal injury and, thus, bad faith is a viable counterclaim, denying an insurer's motion to dismiss (Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. v. Festival Fun Parks LLC, et al., No. 0:12-cv-62212, S.D. Fla.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 119440).
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A debt collector is entitled to partial summary judgment in a Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) lawsuit, a federal judge in Florida ruled Aug. 20, because a consumer has failed to show that the debt collector's demand letter was false or misleading (Eric Stanley v. Ideal Collection Services Inc., No. 13-60217, S.D. Fla.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 117821).
PANAMA CITY, Fla. - The Federal Tort Claims Act claims of five bellwether plaintiffs in an action filed by federal corrections officers and their families for exposure to heavy metals from an electronics recycling business in a Florida prison were dismissed Aug. 21 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida because the claims were filed outside the two-year, FTCA statute of limitations (Chelsie Bailey, et al. v. United States, No. 12-104, N.D. Fla.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 118629).
PHILADELPHIA - The Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 21 vacated certification of a Florida statewide class of consumers who bought Bayer Corp.'s WeightSmart combination multivitamin/dietary supplement, saying the plaintiff has shown no reliable way to ascertain class membership and valid claims (Gabriel Joseph Carrera, et al. v. Bayer Corporation, et al., No. 12-2621, 3rd Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 17479).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida appeals court vacated $50,000 in punitive damages in a smoking wrongful death case Aug. 14, but allowed a compensatory damages award of approximately $957,000 to stand (R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company v. Pamela Ciccone, No. 4D11-3807, Fla. App., 4th Dist.; 2013 Fla. App. LEXIS 12726).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida appeals court on Aug. 13 affirmed a trial court's decision granting summary judgment in favor of an insurer, finding that a tenant's mold-related claims were excluded under his insurance policy (David Abraham v. Universal Insurance Company of North America, a foreign insurance company, No. 4D12-2742; Fla. App., 4th Dist.; 2013 Fla. App. LEXIS 12647).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A Florida federal judge's decision to grant judgment as a matter of law (JMOL) on behalf of a patent infringement defendant, along with his subsequent denial of a plaintiff's motion for a new trial, were affirmed Aug. 7 by the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (Rembrandt Vision Technology Inc. v. Johnson & Johnson Vision Care Inc., No. 12-1510, Fed. Cir.).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Improper statements during closing argument, which included comparing tobacco companies to heroin pushers, do not justify overturning a $2.4 million tobacco wrongful death verdict, Florida's Fourth District Court of Appeal said in an Aug. 7 opinion (Philip Morris USA Inc., et al. v. Mary Tullo, Nos. 4D11-2788 and 4D11-2886, Fla. App., 4th Dist.).
MIAMI - A federal judge in Florida on Aug. 6 struck a tobacco wrongful death plaintiff's expert on addiction pursuant to Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (509 U.S. 579 $(1993$)) but allowed a plaintiff's treating physician who offered a key diagnosis to testify (Ronnie L. Jacobson, et al. v. Philip Morris USA Inc., et al., No. 1:12-cv-23781, S.D. Fla.).
SAN FRANCISCO - A federal magistrate judge in Florida on Aug. 5 found that SLM Corp. (Sallie Mae) and other defendants have not established that the choice-of-law provisions in promissory notes bar claims at the pleading stage of a putative class action alleging that Sallie Mae's late fees violate California's consumer protection law, allowing the case to continue (Tina M. Ubaldi, et al. v. SLM Corporation, et al., No. 11-1320, N.D. Calif.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 109877).
TAMPA, Fla. - Genuine issues of fact exist as to whether a title and escrow company is an innocent insured and whether its alleged sole owner was a covered insured when he misappropriated $4.7 million in escrow funds, a Florida federal judge ruled Aug. 2, denying a professional liability insurer's motion for summary judgment (Max Specialty Insurance Co. v. A Clear Title and Escrow Exchange LLC, et al., No. 8:12-cv-727-T-26MAP, M.D. Fla., Tampa Div.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 108865).
MIAMI - Marshall & Ilsley Bank (M&I), Great Western Bank (GWB), Commerce Bank N.A. and Associated Bank N.A. on Aug. 2 became the latest banks to exit a multidistrict litigation in which class members allege that banks manipulated the order of debit card transactions to maximize checking account overdraft fees litigation when a federal judge in Florida approved settlements between the banks and classes of customers (In Re: Checking Account Overdraft Litigation, No. 09-md-02036, S.D. Fla.).
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.- A Florida jury on July 31 ordered R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. (RJR) to pay $22.5 million in punitive damages to the husband and children of a woman who died of lung cancer (Jan Grossman, et al. v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, No. 08-80000 (19), No. 2008-CV-25828 (19), Fla. Cir., Broward Co.).
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A Massachusetts federal judge on Aug. 1 was appointed to oversee thousands of cases in the Middle District of Florida asserting death and injury from smoking pursuant to Engle v. Liggett Group Inc. (945 So. 2d 1246 $(Fla. 2006$)) (In re: Engle Cases, No. 3:09-cv-10000-J-32JBT, M.D. Fla., Jacksonville Div.).
NEW ORLEANS - A group of Florida condo owners and a construction firm filed a joint motion in a Louisiana federal court on July 30 seeking final approval of a $7.2 million settlement to fund remediation costs of condo units affected by defective drywall (In re: Chinese-Manufactured Drywall Products Liability Litigation, No. 2:09md02047, E.D. La.).
MIAMI - A defendant's efforts to obtain dismissal of trademark infringement and cybersquatting allegations were unsuccessful July 26, when a Florida federal judge deemed a plaintiff's complaint sufficiently pleaded to survive the motion (Dan Pronman, et al. v. Bryan Styles, No. 12-80674, S.D. Fla.).
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Eleven days after issuing a temporary restraining order (TRO) against 64 defendants accused of selling counterfeit Tiffany (NJ) LLC merchandise, a Florida federal judge on July 22 granted the luxury goods company's motion to temporarily enjoin the defendants that are accused of Lanham Act violations (Tiffany (NJ), LLC v. Gu Jianfang d/b/a AAA909.com, et al., No. 0:13-cv-61470, S.D. Fla.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 102006).
MIAMI - A Florida federal judge on July 22 dismissed a reimbursement suit brought by a provider of health care against a health insurance company for failure to state a claim (Hialeah Physicians Care v. Connecticut General Life Insurance Co., No. 13-21895, S.D. Fla.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 102007).