MIAMI - A disability insurer's decision to terminate a claimant's long-term disability benefits was not arbitrary and capricious because the insurer reasonably concluded that the claimant was not precluded from working in "any occupation," a Florida federal judge said July 19 (Armando Mercado v. Federal Express Corp., et al., No. 15-21472, S.D. Fla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 93786).
TAMPA, Fla. - Window and sliding-glass-door manufacturers may proceed on their "bad-faith failure to settle" and "negligent failure to settle" claims against their insurer for failing to indemnify them for underlying settlements arising out of alleged defective windows, a Florida federal judge ruled July 18 (MI Windows & Doors, LLC, et al. v. Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Co., No. 14-3139, M.D. Fla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 92973).
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A Florida jury on July 19 awarded the husband of a woman who died from lung cancer $1.5 million in damages against Philip Morris USA Inc. after finding that the woman was addicted to cigarettes and that her addiction was a legal cause of her death (Joseph Varner v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 2008-CV-026345, 17th Jud. Cir. Broward Co.).
LAKELAND, Fla. - A Florida appeals panel on July 15 held that although a lower court denial of insured's motion for attorney fees in a sinkhole coverage dispute was based on two statutory misinterpretations, there is ample basis in the record to affirm (Christopher Shane Miller v. Florida Insurance Guaranty Association Inc., et al., No. 2D15-1350, Fla. App., 2nd Dist.; 2016 Fla. App. LEXIS 10868).
MIAMI - Expert testimony challenges from both an asbestos plaintiff and a friction defendant confuse the distinction between admissibility and credibility, a federal judge in Florida said July 11 while also declining to take a third look into whether jurisdiction exists over a different defendant (James John Waite Jr. and Sandra Waite v. AII Acquisition Corp., et al., No. 15-62359, S.D. Fla.).
MIAMI - A police expert may not testify to the nature and extent of plaintiffs' injuries and on the use of force where plaintiffs were completely under a train car when apprehended by a police dog (K-9), a Florida federal judge ruled July 12 (Humberto Pellegrino and Pedro Claveria v. Gerald Wengert, et al., No. 15-60535, S.D. Fla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 90178).
SEBRING, Fla. - A Florida jury on July 7 returned a defense verdict for CertainTeed Corp. on claims that a man's fatal mesothelioma arose from exposure to the company's asbestos-containing pipe, sources told Mealey Publications (Mark V. Mclean, Michael Fitch, Lisa Sherman, and James Archie Bennett as Personal Representatives for the Estate of Leonard C. Smith, III, v. Bird & Son, Inc., et al., No. 2010CA000905, Fla. Cir., 10th Jud. Cir., Highlands Co.).
LAKELAND, Fla. - A Florida appeals panel held July 6 that a lower court erred in awarding $233,610.02 in damages payable directly to insureds without regard for an insurance policy's loss settlement provision as to subsurface repair, reversing the lower court's ruling in part (Citizens Property Insurance Corp. v. James Stieben, et al., No. 2D14-4412, Fla. App., 2nd Dist.; 2016 Fla. App. LEXIS 10296).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A Florida federal judge properly awarded Amgen Inc. a preliminary injunction barring Apotex Inc. from entering the market for 180 days after receiving a requested license from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for a biosimilar product, the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled July 5 (Amgen Inc. v. Apotex Inc., No. 16-1308, Fed. Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 12353).
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A state jury in Florida on July 6 awarded the estate of a woman who died from lung cancer caused by smoking cigarettes made by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and Philip Morris USA Inc. $68,300 in punitive damages, bringing the total award to $133,300 (Michael Sermons v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 2008-CA-000397, Fla. 4th Jud. Cir., Duval Co.).
ATLANTA - The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 29 directed the Supreme Court of Florida to address the question of whether the state "recognizes common law copyright in sound recordings and, if so, whether that copyright includes the exclusive right of reproduction and/or the exclusive right of public performance" (Flo & Eddie Inc. v. Sirius XM Radio Inc., No. 15-13100, 11th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 11860).
LAKELAND, Fla. - A Florida appeals panel on June 24 reversed part of a lower court's final judgment that requires an insurer to pay $100,000 for subsurface repairs of sinkhole damage before its insureds execute a contract with a third party for those repairs, also reversing the lower court's award of prejudgment interest on the subsurface damages award (Citizens Property Insurance Corp. v. Edgardo Nunez, et al., No. 2D14-3712, Fla. App., 2nd Dist.; 2016 Fla. App. LEXIS 9693).
ATLANTA - An 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on June 23 affirmed a jury's verdict finding that three clinics can be ordered to pay Allstate Insurance Co., Allstate Indemnity Co., Allstate Property & Casualty Insurance Co. and Allstate Vehicle & Property Insurance Co. (collectively Allstate) for unjust enrichment, holding that the clinics can be found liable for violating Florida's Health Care Clinic Act for the medical director's failure to systematically review bills (Allstate Insurance Company, et al. v. Sara C. Vizcay, M.D., et al., No. 14-13947, 11th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 11479).
FORT PIERCE, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on June 21 approved an unopposed motion for preliminary approval of a settlement worth at least $126 million in an Employee Retirement Income Security Act class action against Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida Inc. on behalf of patients denied coverage for the prescription drug Harvoni (Eugene Oakes, et al. v. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida Inc., No. 16-80028, SD. Fla.).
MIAMI - A Florida jury on June 21 found that R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and Philip Morris USA Inc. were not responsible for the death of a woman whose husband and daughter claimed that she died from smoking cigarettes made by both companies (Leisa Mooney, et al. v. Philip Morris USA Inc., et al., No. 2011-CA-40815, Fla. Cir., 11th Jud. Cir., Dade Co.).
LAKELAND, Fla. - For the second time in a week, the Second District Florida Court of Appeal on June 17 held that a lower court erred in awarding monetary damages to insureds for subsurface repairs in a sinkhole coverage dispute without requiring them to enter into a contract for the repairs, reversing in part (Citizens Property Insurance Corp. v. Bambi Retz, No. 2D14-5856, Fla. App., 2nd Dist.; 2016 Fla. App. LEXIS 9345).
ATLANTA - A Florida federal judge did not err in granting judgment notwithstanding a jury's verdict of copyright infringement, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled June 17 in a dispute over an architectural floor plan (Home Design Services Inc. v. Turner Heritage Homes Inc. et al., No. 15-11912, 11th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 10962).
MIAMI - A Florida appellate panel on June 15 overturned a judgment awarded to a couple following a nonjury trial, finding that their failure to inform their insurance company that their home did not have a central monitoring system for smoke, temperature and burglary was a material misrepresentation (Certain Underwriters at Lloyd's London v. Raul Jimenez, et al., No. 3D15-54, Fla. App., 3rd Dist.; 2016 Fla. App. LEXIS 9231).
TAMPA, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on June 15 denied hotel franchisors' motion to dismiss a second amended complaint alleging that they subjected African-American employees to racially discriminatory and harassing treatment (Gwendolyn Miller, et al. v. Stickbay Inc., et al., No. 8:15-cv-2040, M.D. Fla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 77925).
TAMPA, Fla - The owner of a company that provided durable medical equipment was sentenced by a federal judge in Florida on June 13 to 37 months in prison and ordered to pay $$918,402 in restitution for his role in a $2.5 million Medicare fraud scheme (United States of America v. Ubert G. Rodriguez, No. 13cr372, M.D. Fla.).
MIAMI - Two weeks after a jury deemed that 10 claims of two patents were willfully infringed, a Florida federal judge on June 13 issued a final judgment, awarding the prevailing plaintiff $46.6 million in enhanced, compensatory damages (Arctic Cat Inc. v. Bombardier Recreation Products Inc., et al., No. 14-62369, S.D. Fla.).