LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - On Remand, Florida Panel Directs Trial Court To Reinstate Tobacco Damages

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - In a two-page ruling issued April 25, Florida's Fourth District Court of Appeal - acting on remand by the Florida Supreme Court - reversed and remanded to the 17th Judicial Circuit Court for Broward County a decision that drastically reduced the amount of damages due to a lung cancer widower (Stephen Tognoli v. Philip Morris USA Inc., No. 4D16-224, Fla. App. 4th Dist., 2018 Fla. App. LEXIS 5745).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Florida Appeals Court Vacates New Trial Ordered In Tobacco Death Case

MIAMI - A Florida judge abused his discretion in undoing a jury verdict that R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. was not liable for the lung cancer death of a Florida man, the Third District Florida Court of Appeal ruled April 25 (R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company v. Patsy Davis, No. 3D16-1994, Fla. App., 3rd Dist., 2018 Fla. App. LEXIS 5602).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge: Assault And Battery Exclusion Does Not Apply To Negligence Suit Against Bar

MIAMI - A Florida federal judge on April 24 held that claims against a nightclub insured cannot be deemed to arise out of an assault or battery or the insured's attempt or failure to suppress or prevent an assault or battery, rejecting the insurer's contention that the assault and battery exclusion bars coverage (Scottsdale Insurance Company v. Klub Kutter's Bar & Lounge LLC, et al., No. 17-61321, S.D. Fla., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 68585).

Mealey's Insurance - Excess Insurer Has No Duty To Indemnify Chinese Drywall Claims, Judge Says

MIAMI - In a coverage dispute over the installation of Chinese drywall, a subcontractor failed to establish that an excess insurer has a duty to indemnify it for its damages, a Florida federal judge ruled April 25, granting summary judgment to the excess insurer on claims for declaratory judgment, breach of contract and bad faith (Peninsula II Developers Inc., et al. v. Westchester Fire Insurance Co., No. 09-23691, S.D. Fla., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 69479).

Mealey's Labor & Employment - Age Discrimination Claim Is Not Preempted By ERISA, Florida Federal Judge Says

TAMPA, Fla. - A former employee's age discrimination claim is not preempted by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act because the Florida Civil Rights Act provides an independent legal basis for the age discrimination claim, a Florida federal judge said April 20 in denying the defendants' motion to dismiss (John Morton v. Nexagen Networks Inc., et al., No. 18-386, M.D. Fla., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 66521).

Mealey's IP/Tech - Federal Circuit Affirms: Vote Verifying Patent Covers Abstract Idea

WASHINGTON, D.C. - A Florida federal judge's dismissal of patent infringement allegations levied against a maker of automated voting systems was upheld April 20 by the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (Voter Verified Inc. v. Election Systems & Software LLC, No. 17-1930, Fed. Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 10026).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Casino Will Issue Settlement Checks To End Fan Club Members' Excessive Fees Claims

MIAMI - A Florida federal judge on Feb. 20 granted final approval to a settlement by a Florida casino to issue $15 or $30 settlement checks to fan club members to end a class complaint alleging that the casino charged excessive fees to those members who placed a winning buy bet in certain machines while playing craps (Daniel A. Brna, et al. v. Isle of Capri Casinos Inc., et al., No. 17-60144, S.D. Fla., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 26662).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - $24 Million Awarded To Wife, Daughter Of Deceased Smoker

DADE CITY, Fla. - A jury in Florida state court on Feb. 20 awarded a family of a deceased smoker $15 million in punitive damages in an Engle progeny suit bringing the total award to $24 million in a suit where they claimed that smoking was the cause of a man's lung cancer and death (Rosemarie Graffeo v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. 2016CA000233, Fla. Cir., 6th Jud., Pasco Co.).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Florida Appeals Panel Reinstates $2 Million Tobacco Verdict

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A panel of Florida's Fourth District Court of Appeal on Feb. 14 affirmed a trial court's decision to allow a plaintiff's expert to testify and reinstated the full $2 million verdict in an Engle progeny suit after finding that the court erred by reducing the award based on comparative fault (Philip Morris USA Inc., et al. v. Robert A. Gore Sr., No. 4D15-3892, Fla. App., 4th Dist., 2018 Fla. App. LEXIS 2274).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge Grants Directed Verdict For Defense In Tobacco Lawsuit

MIAMI - Following the closing arguments in an Engle progeny suit on Feb. 15, a judge in Florida state court granted a tobacco company's oral motion for directed verdict in a punitive damages-only trial (Joyce Hardin v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. 07-46973-CA-22, Fla. 11th Jud. Cir. Miami-Dade Co.).

Mealey's Insurance - Insurers Owe Defense For Claims Arising Out Of Negligence, 11th Circuit Says

ATLANTA - Commercial general liability insurers have a duty to defend allegations that an insured improperly constructed on land without taking reasonable steps to implement a workable drainage system, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held Feb. 13, reversing and remanding the entry of summary judgment to the insurers (Mid-Continent Casualty Co., et al. v. Adams Homes of Northwest Florida Inc., et al., No. 17-12660, 11th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 3538).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Florida Appeals Panel Reinstates $2 Million Tobacco Verdict

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A panel of Florida's Fourth District Court of Appeal on Feb. 14 affirmed a trial court's decision to allow a plaintiff's expert to testify and reinstated the full $2 million verdict in an Engle progeny suit after finding that the court erred by reducing the award based on comparative fault (Philip Morris USA Inc., et al. v. Robert A. Gore Sr., No. 4D15-3892, Fla. App., 4th Dist., 2018 Fla. App. LEXIS 2274).

Mealey's Insurance - Florida Majority Reverses $493,246 Attorney Fee Award In Sinkhole Coverage Suit

LAKELAND, Fla. - A majority of the Second District Florida Court of Appeal on Feb. 14 reversed a lower court's $493,246.50 attorney fees award against an insurer in a sinkhole coverage dispute and remanded for further proceedings (Citizens Property Insurance Corporation v. Meghan Anderson, No. 2D16-616, Fla. App., 2nd Dist. 2018 Fla. App. LEXIS 2245).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Florida Appeals Panel Reverses Dismissal Of Engle Progeny Suit

MIAMI - A panel of the Third District Florida Court of Appeal on Feb. 14 found that a trial court erred in dismissing an Engle progeny suit because the 90-day period to substitute a plaintiff had been extinguished when the plaintiff's family filed a motion before an executor of the estate was named (Jerry Feller v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 3D16-2389, Fla. App., 3rd Dist., 2018 Fla. App. LEXIS 2160).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Class Complaint Over Timeshare Dealings Is Dismissed As Shotgun Pleading

ORLANDO, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on Feb. 12 dismissed an amended class complaint by a timeshare owner alleging various breaches by Wyndham timeshare entities for being a shotgun pleading and gave the plaintiff two weeks to file an amended complaint that properly separates the claims (Tommy J. Embree v. Wyndham Worldwide Corporation, et al., No. 16-928, M.D. Fla., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 22165).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Expert's Opinions On Corrosion Found On Airplane Barred By Judge

TAMPA, Fla. - Competing experts in a breach of contract lawsuit over the inspection of a company's airplane both had their proposed testimony limited Feb. 13 by a Florida federal judge (Oil Consulting Enterprise, Inc. v. Hawker Beechcraft Global Customer Support, LLC, No. 8:16-cv-3453, M.D. Fla., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 23273).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - FACTA Class Suit Dismissed After Settlement Reached For Lack Of Jurisdiction

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on Feb. 8 dismissed a class complaint over credit card numbers being printed on receipts following preliminary approval of a settlement, ruling that the court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over the claims (Eric Kirchein, et al. v. Pet Supermarket, Inc., No. 16-60090, S.D. Fla., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 21750).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Florida Supreme Court Declines To Review $18 Million Tobacco Verdict

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The Florida Supreme Court on Feb. 9 declined to review an $18 million verdict in an Engle progeny trial in which tobacco companies argued for a new trial because of the trial court's failure to dismiss a juror for prejudice against tobacco companies (R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al. v. Andy R. Allen Sr., No. SC17-2055, Fla. Sup., 2018 Fla. LEXIS 356).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge: 'Your Work' Exclusion Relieves Insurer From Defending Contractor

MIAMI - An insurance company has no duty to defend a general contractor accused in an underlying suit of construction defects, a federal judge in Florida ruled Feb. 7, holding that the "your work" exclusion to the policy warrants a denial of coverage (Mid-Continent Casualty Company v. JWN Construction Inc., et al., No. 17-CV-80286, S.D. Fla., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 20529).

Mealey's Labor & Employment - ERISA Health Insurer, Florida Service Provider Ask Court To Dismiss Suit

TAMPA, Fla. - An insurer and an out-of-network health care provider engaged in a battle over what constitutes the proper reimbursement rate under Florida law and whether those claims implicate ERISA asked a federal court to dismiss the case with prejudice on Feb. 7 (Premier Inpatient Partners LLC, et al. v. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida Inc., Nos. 17-3000, 17-3001, M.D. Fla.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Florida Appeals Panel Dismisses Engle Progeny Suit Because Of Dead Plaintiff

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - A panel of the First District Florida Court of Appeals on Feb. 8 dismissed an Engle progeny suit because her attorneys did not have the legal authority to file and maintain a suit on behalf of a dead woman (Raymond Staines v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 1D16-2655, Fla. App., 1st Dist., 2018 Fla. App. LEXIS 1817).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Florida Appeals Panel Affirms Dismissal Of 73 Engle Progeny Suits

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - A panel of the First District Florida Court of Appeal on Feb. 8 affirmed a lower court's decision to dismiss 73 Engle progeny suits filed by two law firms on behalf of deceased plaintiffs because "a dead person cannot file and maintain a lawsuit" (In Re 73 Engle-Related Cases, No. 1D16-2651, Fla. App., 1st Dist., 2018 Fla. App. LEXIS 1819).

Mealey's Insurance - ERISA Health Insurer, Florida Service Provider Ask Court To Dismiss Suit

TAMPA, Fla. - An insurer and an out-of-network health care provider engaged in a battle over what constitutes the proper reimbursement rate under Florida law and whether those claims implicate ERISA asked a federal court to dismiss the case with prejudice on Feb. 7 (Premier Inpatient Partners LLC, et al. v. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida Inc., Nos. 17-3000, 17-3001, M.D. Fla.).

Mealey's Insurance - Insurer Required To Cover Damages From 'Collapse,' Magistrate Judge Finds

MIAMI - Finding that "collapse" is not defined in an "all-risk" insurance policy, a Florida federal magistrate judge on Feb. 5 held that an insurer is obligated to cover sagging and falling down ceilings at a condominium complex (Key Biscayne Ambassador Condominium Association Inc. v. Aspen Specialty Insurance Co., No. 16-24564, S.D. Fla., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 19440).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Florida Jury Awards Family Of Smoker $17.5 Million In Engle Progeny Suit

MIAMI - A Florida jury on Feb. 6 awarded the surviving family members of a smoker who died from lung cancer $10 million in punitive damages, bringing the total amount of damages to $17.5 million (Kenneth Gloger v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 2011-CA-23377, Fla. 11th Jud. Cir. Miami-Dade Co.).