LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Disputes Exist Over Whether Subsequent Buyers Knew About Building Code Violations

ORLANDO, Fla. - A federal judge in Florida on Dec. 14 denied Pulte Home Corp.'s motion for summary judgment, holding that genuine disputes exist as to whether subsequent home buyers knew about building code violations concerning the allegedly faulty installation of stucco on the homes (Shaun Parker Gazzara, et al. v. Pulte Home Corp., No. 16-cv-657, M.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 205416).

Mealey's Labor & Employment - Judge Partially Compels Cruise Line Worker's Claims To Arbitration

MIAMI - A Florida federal judge on Dec. 12 found that a cruise line worker's negligence claims against her employer must be arbitrated in the Bahamas pursuant to the terms of her employment agreement, but remanded claims against another cruise line and her coworker to a state court, because they were not signatories to the arbitration agreement (Michelle Haasbroek v. Princess Cruise Lines Ltd., No. 17-cv-22370, S.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 204025).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Judge Partially Compels Cruise Line Worker's Claims To Arbitration

MIAMI - A Florida federal judge on Dec. 12 found that a cruise line worker's negligence claims against her employer must be arbitrated in the Bahamas pursuant to the terms of her employment agreement, but remanded claims against another cruise line and her coworker to a state court, because they were not signatories to the arbitration agreement (Michelle Haasbroek v. Princess Cruise Lines Ltd., No. 17-cv-22370, S.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 204025).

Mealey's IP/Tech - Copyright Plaintiff Partly Prevails In Dispute Over Streaming TV Content

MIAMI - A Florida federal judge on Dec. 11 entered summary judgment on behalf of a producer of Colombian television and its distributor, amid allegations that a defendant created a website to stream the plaintiffs' copyrighted content in the United States without permission (Caracol Television S.A., et al. v. TVmiaInternational Corp., et al., No. 16-23486, S.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 204575).

Mealey's Insurance - Former Home Health Agency Owner To Serve 115 Months For $15M Fraud Scheme

MIAMI - A federal judge in Florida on Dec. 11 sentenced the former owner and operator of a health care agency to 115 months in prison and ordered him to pay $15.1 million in restitution for his role in a conspiracy to defraud Medicare (United States of America v. Yunesky Fornaris, No 17cr20163, S.D. Fla.).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Federal Magistrate Won't Reconsider Ruling On Counterclaims In Misfiring Suit

MIAMI - A Florida magistrate federal judge on Dec. 12 denied a request to reconsider his October ruling in which he re-designated counterclaims by a gun importer facing a class complaint alleging that its .357 revolvers are defective and can misfire as an affirmative defense and refused to strike it (Suzanne M. Bedwell, et al. v. Braztech International, L.C., No. 17-22335, S.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 204027).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Federal Magistrate Won't Reconsider Ruling On Counterclaims In Misfiring Suit

MIAMI - A Florida magistrate federal judge on Dec. 12 denied a request to reconsider his October ruling in which he re-designated counterclaims by a gun importer facing a class complaint alleging that its .357 revolvers are defective and can misfire as an affirmative defense and refused to strike it (Suzanne M. Bedwell, et al. v. Braztech International, L.C., No. 17-22335, S.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 204027).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Blood Spatter, Criminal Law Experts Can Testify In Excessive Force Suit

TAMPA, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on Dec. 12 allowed a blood spatter expert and a criminal law expert to testify for a couple in their excessive-use-of-force action against several police officers, though she did place limits on both experts' opinions (Michael Bratt, et al. v. Louis Genovese, et al., No. 8:13-cv-3210, M.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 204003).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Florida Jury Awards $806,000 To Plaintiff In Tobacco Suit

PENSACOLA, Fla. - A Florida jury on Dec. 7 awarded $225,000 in punitive damages to an Engle progeny plaintiff, bringing the total award to a widow whose husband died from coronary artery disease to $806,000 (Veda Bryant v. Philip Morris USA Inc., No. 2015-CA-001691, Fla. Cir., 1st Jud., Escambia Co.).

Mealey's IP/Tech - Federal Circuit Vacates False Marking Judgment, Affirms In Other Respects

WASHINGTON, D.C. - A Florida federal judge's rejection of allegations a patent owner failed to mark its products was vacated Dec. 7 by the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, which found that although it is an accused infringer's duty to produce evidence of unmarked products, it remains a patentee's duty to prove that the products in question do not practice the patented invention (Arctic Cat Inc. v. Bombardier Recreational Products Inc., et al., No. 17-1475, Fed. Cir.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Engle Progeny Plaintiff Files Notice Of Appeal Following Defense Verdict

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Following a defense verdict in an Engle progeny trial, a woman who sued on behalf of her deceased husband filed a notice of appeal with Florida's Fourth Appellate District Court on Dec. 4, saying the trial court erred in denying her motion for a new trial (Doris E. Shadd v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., 4D17-3735, Fla. App., 4th Dist.).

Mealey's Securities/D&O Liability - Majority Of Claims In Securities Fraud Suit Are Time-Barred, Judge Rules

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Dismissal of a majority of claims in a securities fraud lawsuit against Children of America (COA), certain of its affiliates and others is warranted because those claims are time-barred under their respective statutes of limitations, a federal judge in Florida ruled Dec. 1 in granting in part and denying in part the defendants' motion to dismiss (Daniel Martin v. World Wide Child Care Corp., et al., No. 17-80188, S.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 199033).

Mealey's IP/Tech - Florida Federal Judge: Trademark Not Promoted In Unsolicited Facsimiles

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Citing a lack of personal jurisdiction over two defendants accused of violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), a Florida federal judge on Dec. 1 reversed course, vacating his earlier finding that unsolicited facsimile (fax) advertisements bearing the "Ulesfia" trademark were sent on behalf of the mark owner (S.A.S.B. Corporation, et al., v. Concordia Pharmaceuticals Inc., et al., No. 16-14108, S.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 199021).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Florida Supreme Court Denies Petition For Review In Engle Progeny Suit

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The Florida Supreme Court on Dec. 4, without explanation, denied an Engle progeny plaintiff's petition for review in appealing a lower court's decision to vacate a $16.8 million verdict and grant a new trial in a tobacco suit (Cynthia Robinson v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. SC17-1130, Fla. Sup., 2017 Fla. LEXIS 2437).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Appeals Court Overturns Ruling Severing Roofer From Defects Lawsuit

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - A trial court judge in Florida erred when granting a couple's motion to dismiss a condominium complex operator's third-party suit against a roofing subcontractor, a Florida appeals court panel ruled Dec. 1, finding that there is a clear risk of inconsistent verdicts if the claims are tried separately (Martinique Condominiums, Inc. v. Michael P. Short, et al., No. 5D17-1546, Fla. App., 5th Dist., 2017 Fla. App. LEXIS 17984).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Airline Expert Permitted To Testify In Injured Worker's Negligence Action

MIAMI - An aviation industry expert can testify about whether the training received by a worker who was injured in an aircraft-moving tractor from an employee of the company that made the tractor was adequate but cannot offer opinions on the sales contract for the tractor because doing so involves issues of law, a Florida federal magistrate judge held Nov. 30 (Roy Maltez v. Trepel Airport Equipment GMBH, No. 16-24465, S.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 196458).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Airline Expert Permitted To Testify In Injured Worker's Negligence Action

MIAMI - An aviation industry expert can testify about whether the training received by a worker who was injured in an aircraft-moving tractor from an employee of the company that made the tractor was adequate but cannot offer opinions on the sales contract for the tractor because doing so involves issues of law, a Florida federal magistrate judge held Nov. 30 (Roy Maltez v. Trepel Airport Equipment GMBH, No. 16-24465, S.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 196458).

Mealey's Insurance - Bad Faith Claim Cannot Be Adjudicated Until After Contract Claim Is Resolved

FORT MYERS, Fla. - A bad faith claim stemming from an auto insurance dispute must be dismissed because the claim cannot be adjudicated until after the breach of contract claim is resolved, a Florida federal judge said Nov. 27 in granting the insurer's motion to dismiss (James Robert Wadsworth, et al. v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., No. 17-502, M.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 194254).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Appeals Court Orders Judge To Recalculate Sanctions Imposed Against Developer

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida appeals panel on Nov. 22 ordered a trial court judge to recalculate the amount of damages a developer must pay as a sanction for civil contempt, holding that the initial amount included attorney fees that did not stem from the developer's failure to send a sufficient representative to court-ordered mediation (Gozzo Development, Inc., et al. v. Anne M. Esker, No. 4D16-3734, Fla. App., 4th Dist., 2017 Fla. App. LEXIS 17574).

Mealey's Antitrust/Unfair Competition - Judge Certifies Class Of Purchasers Of Fitbit Sleep Tracking Devices

SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on Nov. 20 granted a motion filed by purchasers of devices made by Fitbit Inc. to certify class for violation of California and Florida law in relation to alleged misrepresentations about sleep tracking, but found that a claim for negligent misrepresentation under Florida law must proceed individually (James Brickman, et al. v. Fitbit Inc., No. 3:15-cv-02077, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 191788).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Appeals Court Orders Judge To Recalculate Sanctions Imposed Against Developer

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida appeals panel on Nov. 22 ordered a trial court judge to recalculate the amount of damages a developer must pay as a sanction for civil contempt, holding that the initial amount included attorney fees that did not stem from the developer's failure to send a sufficient representative to court-ordered mediation (Gozzo Development, Inc., et al. v. Anne M. Esker, No. 4D16-3734, Fla. App., 4th Dist., 2017 Fla. App. LEXIS 17574).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Judge Certifies Class Of Purchasers Of Fitbit Sleep Tracking Devices

SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on Nov. 20 granted a motion filed by purchasers of devices made by Fitbit Inc. to certify class for violation of California and Florida law in relation to alleged misrepresentations about sleep tracking, but found that a claim for negligent misrepresentation under Florida law must proceed individually (James Brickman, et al. v. Fitbit Inc., No. 3:15-cv-02077, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 191788).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Florida Judge Declares Mistrial In Engle Progeny Suit Against R.J. Reynolds

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A jury in an Engle progeny suit was unable to come to a verdict in Florida state court and a mistrial was granted in a tobacco suit in which a woman claimed that her mother's lung cancer and death were caused by her addiction to cigarettes made by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. (Julie Adamson v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. 2016CA008532, Fla. 15th Jud. Cir., Palm Beach Co.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge Adopts Recommendation To Deny Dismissal Of Groups' Suit Over Discharges

MIAMI - A federal judge in Florida on Nov. 17 adopted a magistrate judge's recommendation to deny dismissal of a lawsuit brought by three environmental groups over discharges from a nuclear power plant's facility, holding that the groups have standing to bring their suit under the Clean Water Act (CWA) (Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, et al. v. Florida Power & Light Company, No. 16-23017-CIV-GAYLES/OTAZA-REYES, S.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 190504).

Mealey's IP/Tech - Federal Circuit Affirms Delayed Motion To Amend Dooms Patent Complaint

WASHINGTON, D.C. - A Florida federal judge's decision to dismiss a patent infringement complaint without prejudice following a plaintiff's delayed efforts to add a co-inventor was upheld by the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Nov. 17 (Cobra International Inc. v. BCNY International Inc., et al., Nos. 16-2103, -2173, -2635, Fed. Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 23133).