LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
Mealey's IP/Tech - Florida Federal Judge: Copyright, Trademark Case Fails To State A Claim

FORT MYERS, Fla. - Allegations by a pro se plaintiff that two individual defendants committed copyright and trademark infringement are insufficiently pleaded, a Florida federal judge ruled Dec. 6 (Daniel A. Bernath v. Don Shipley, et al., No. 16-40, M.D. Fla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 168253).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Florida Appellate Panel Reverses Summary Judgment In Dog Bite Suit

MIAMI - A Florida appellate panel on Nov. 30 reversed summary judgment in favor of a guard dog company in a dog bite suit because Florida's dog bite law "imposes strict liability on dog owners, subject only to a plaintiff's comparative negligence, which in this case must be determined by the trier-of-fact" (Lisa Arellano v. Broward K-9/Miami K-9 Services Inc., No. 3D16-314, Fla. App., 3rd Dist.; 2016 Fla. App. LEXIS 17699).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Florida Appellate Panel Vacates $20 Million Tobacco Verdict

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida appellate panel on Nov. 30 vacated a $20 million verdict awarded to the estate of a woman following a trial in an Engle progeny suit after finding that the damages awarded by the jury were excessive (R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. v. Gwendolyn E. Odom, No. 4D14-3867, Fla. App., 4th Dist.; 2016 Fla. App. LEXIS 17713).

Mealey's Insurance - Court Erred In Rejecting Concurring Cause Doctrine, Majority Says, Quashes Order

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - A majority of the Florida Supreme Court on Dec. 1 held that an appeals court erred in reversing an $8 million judgment against a homeowners insurer in a coverage dispute over alleged property damage caused by construction defects, rain and wind, quashing the lower court's opinion and remanding to apply the concurring cause doctrine (John Robert Sebo v. American Home Assurance Co. Inc., No. 14-897, Fla. Sup.; 2016 Fla. LEXIS 2596).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Class Complaint Alleges Phone Maker, Software Firm Shared Personal Information

MIAMI - In a putative class complaint filed Nov. 22 in Florida federal court, a smartphone owner alleges that his phone's manufacturer and a firmware provider violated privacy and warranty laws by intercepting and transmitting his personal information without authorization to a Chinese server (Aaron Bonds v. Blu Products Inc., et al., No. 1:16-cv-24892, S.D. Fla.).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Former NFL Players Seek Change To CBA To Protect Living Players With CTE

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Thirty-eight former National Football League (NFL) players on Nov. 21 filed suit in Florida federal court against the league and the teams that comprise, claiming that they were not protected from the dangers of concussions and not warned about chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) (Tony Gaiter, et al. v. National Football League Inc., et al., No. 0:16-cv-62755-BB, S.D. Fla.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Fertilizer Maker: Tainted Groundwater Case Fails; Jurisdiction Lacking

TAMPA, Fla. - Fertilizer manufacturers who are being sued for groundwater contamination allegedly connected to an incident at their plant moved in federal court in Florida on Nov. 21, contending that the case should be dismissed because the plaintiffs' complaint "does not contain a single allegation that" contaminants have been detected beyond the borders of the property where the plant is located and because jurisdiction is lacking (Nicholas Bohn, et al. v. The Mosaic Company, et al., No. 16-02724, M.D. Fla.).

Mealey's Health Law - Former Pharmacy Owner Convicted For Role In $700,000 Medicare Fraud Scheme

MIAMI - A former pharmacy owner was convicted by a federal jury in Florida on Nov. 16 of three counts of health care fraud for his role in a scheme in which he fraudulently billed Medicare $700,000 for prescription drugs that were never dispensed (United States of America v. Andres Alfonso, No. 16-cr-20567, S.D. Fla.).

Mealey's Insurance - Florida Federal Judge Says No Evidence That EIFS Was Defectively Installed

ORLANDO, Fla. - Because there is no evidence that an insured's exterior insulation finishing system (EIFS) was defectively installed, a Florida federal judge on Nov. 18 denied an insurer's motion for summary judgment in a suit filed by an insured seeking coverage for water and mold damages to the insured's home (George Crews, et al. v. Federal Insurance Co., No. 15-866, M.D. Fla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 160200).

Mealey's Insurance - Former Pharmacy Owner Convicted For Role In $700,000 Medicare Fraud Scheme

MIAMI - A former pharmacy owner was convicted by a federal jury in Florida on Nov. 16 of three counts of health care fraud for his role in a scheme in which he fraudulently billed Medicare $700,000 for prescription drugs that were never dispensed (United States of America v. Andres Alfonso, No. 16-cr-20567, S.D. Fla.).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Class Certification Denied In FDCPA Suit; Plaintiff Awarded $1 For Damages

TAMPA, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on Nov. 14 declined to certify a class of individuals who received debt collection notices that violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), finding that a class action was not the superior method for adjudicating the matter; the judge granted the named plaintiff's summary judgment motion and awarded the plaintiff $1 in statutory damages (Ronnie E. Dickens v. GC Services Limited Partnership, No. 16-803, M.D. Fla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 156916).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Florida Jury Finds For Defense In Tobacco Suit

NAPLES, Fla. - A Florida jury on Nov. 14 found in favor of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. in an Engle progeny suit, determining that a woman knew or should have known that she had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) before the cutoff date to file an Engle progeny suit (Patricia Kloppenburg v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. 1006472CA, Fla. 20th Jud. Cir. Collier Co.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Jury Awards $4 Million In Engle Progeny Suit To Woman With COPD

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A Florida state court jury on Nov. 14 awarded $4 million to a woman who developed chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) after finding that she developed the disease by smoking cigarettes made by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and Philip Morris USA Inc. (Mary Howles v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 2007-CV-034919, Fla. Cir., 17th Jud., Broward Co.).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Judge: Forensic Engineer's Testimony In Personal Injury Suit Is Unreliable, Inadmissible

MIAMI - A forensic engineer's expert testimony on why a woman fell from a plane's mobile stairway and why an airline should maintain information on the stairway's model is unreliable and inadmissible, a Florida federal judge ruled Nov. 8, excluding the testimony supporting the woman's claims that her injuries were not an accident (Esther Serrano v. American Airlines Inc., No. 15-23382, S.D. Fla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 154826).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Judge: Forensic Engineer's Testimony In Personal Injury Suit Is Unreliable, Inadmissible

MIAMI - A forensic engineer's expert testimony on why a woman fell from a plane's mobile stairway and why an airline should maintain information on the stairway's model is unreliable and inadmissible, a Florida federal judge ruled Nov. 8, excluding the testimony supporting the woman's claims that her injuries were not an accident (Esther Serrano v. American Airlines Inc., No. 15-23382, S.D. Fla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 154826).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Florida Jury Finds For Defense In Medical Malpractice Suit

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida jury on Nov. 2 found that a doctor was not negligent in obtaining informed consent to perform electroshock therapy on a patient being treated for depression (Shaul Dadi v. Praturi Sharma, No. 2011-CA-16027, Fla. 15th Jud. Cir. Palm Co.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Florida Jury Unable To Reach Verdict In Tobacco Trial

FORT MYERS, Fla. - A Florida jury in an Engle progeny case was unable to reach an agreement on whether a woman who died from lung cancer was addicted to cigarettes made by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., and the judge declared a mistrial on Nov. 1 (John Maloney v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., 07-CA-015578, Fla. 20th Jud. Cir., Lee Co.).

Mealey's Banking & Finance - Federal Judge Refuses To Grant Injunctive Prohibiting Foreclosure

ORLANDO, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on Oct. 31 refused to grant injunctive relief to a property owner in relation to an attempt to enjoin several lenders from foreclosing on a property and ordered the parties to submit a joint statement as to why the court has jurisdiction over the case (Joseph E. Altier v. Suntrust Mortgage Inc., et al., No. 6:16-cv-1752, M.D. Fla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 150371).

Mealey's Insurance - Federal Magistrate Judge Denies Motion To Order IME For Failure To Serve Motion

TAMPA, Fla. - Because a disability plan administrator was not served with a claimant's motion seeking an order requiring the plan administrator to reschedule and videotape an independent medical exam (IME), a Florida federal magistrate judge on Oct. 21 denied the claimant's motion without prejudice and allowed the claimant to refile and serve the motion on the plan administrator (Alexander Stratigos v. Prudential Insurance Company of America, No. 16-2780, M.D. Fla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 146094).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge Finds Deficiencies In Amended Complaint In Coverage Dispute Over Data Breach

FORT MYERS, Fla.- A federal judge in Florida on Oct. 24 dismissed without prejudice a primary and excess insurers' amended complaint seeking a declaration that they have no duty to defend or indemnify their cancer care service provider insured against underlying class action lawsuits stemming from a 2015 data breach, giving the insurers seven days to cure the deficiencies in their petition (The Charter Oak Fire Insurance Co., et al. v. 21st Century Oncology Investments, No. 16-00732, M.D. Fla.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Florida Jury Awards $20 Million In Punitives In Tobacco Trial

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A Florida jury on Oct. 25 awarded $20 million in punitive damages to the husband of a woman who died after developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) from smoking cigarettes made by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. in an Engle progeny trial (Alan Konzelman v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. 2008-CV-019620, Fla. Cir., 17th Jud. Cir., Broward Co.).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Punitives Award In ObTape Case Cut From $4M to $2M; No Specific Intent Present

COLUMBUS, Ga. - A Georgia federal judge presiding over the Mentor ObTape pelvic mesh multidistrict litigation on Oct. 20 said the plaintiff presented "ample" evidence to support a jury's punitive damages finding but said there was no evidence that Mentor Corp. had specific intent under Florida law to harm the plaintiff and capped the jury's $4 million punitive damages verdict at $2 million (In Re: Mentor Corp. ObTape Transobturator Sling Products Liability Litigation, MDL Docket No. 2004, No. 08-md-2004, Teresa Taylor v. Mentor Corp., No. 12-176, D. Md.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 145290).

Mealey's Insurance - 11th Circuit Upholds Ruling Finding Man Accountable For $31M In Intended Losses

ATLANTA - A federal judge in Florida did not err when finding that a man who pleaded guilty for his role in an insurance fraud scheme that involved fraudulently billing private insurance companies for services that were not provided was accountable for $31 million in intended losses, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of appeals ruled Oct. 18, holding that the defendant agreed in his plea agreement that his actions resulted in losses between $20 million and $50 million (United States of America v. Alejandro Jesus Cura, No. 15-15259, 11th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 18638).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Florida Court Affirms Rejection Of $10.3M Jones Act Asbestos Verdict

MIAMI - A Florida appeals court on Oct. 19 affirmed a judge's ruling setting aside a $10.3 million Jones Act asbestos verdict against a cruise line (Giovanna Settimi Caraffa, et al. v. Carnival Cruise Lines, No. 3D 15-356, Fla. App., 3rd Dist.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Florida Court Affirms Rejection Of $10.3M Jones Act Asbestos Verdict

MIAMI - A Florida appeals court on Oct. 19 affirmed a judge's ruling setting aside a $10.3 million Jones Act asbestos verdict against a cruise line (Giovanna Settimi Caraffa, et al. v. Carnival Cruise Lines, No. 3D 15-356, Fla. App., 3rd Dist.).