PALM BEACH, Fla. - A title insurer breached its policy by failing to catch title defects that ended land sales, a Florida state jury found May 19, awarding $4.45 million to a hotel developer in the Bahamas for damages it suffered by the breach (Governor's Harbour Resort and Marina Ltd. v. First American Title Insurance Co., No. 502010CA027629XXXX MB AI, Fla. Cir., Palm Beach Co., 15th Jud. Cir.).
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The Florida Supreme Court on May 14 found that a first-party bad faith cause of action under Section 624.155(1)(b), Florida Statutes, does not fall under the willful tort exception to the immunity granted to a nonprofit insurer by the Florida Legislature, quashing an appellate court's ruling in favor of the insured and answering a certified question in the affirmative in a coverage dispute arising from Hurricane Ivan (Citizens Property Insurance Corp. v. Perdido Sun Condominium Association Inc., etc., No. SC14-185, Fla. Sup.; 2015 Fla. LEXIS 1053).
TAMPA, Fla. - CVS Health Corp. will pay a $22 million civil penalty to resolve federal allegations that two of its pharmacies in Sanford, Fla., distributed controlled substances on the basis of illegitimate prescriptions, the government and company announced May 13.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A smoker who is seeking a new trial after a jury found her suit barred by the statute of limitations is asking the court "to undertake the role of a tenth juror," R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. argues in a brief filed May 13 in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida (Karen Lennox v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No 3:09-cv-13744, M.D. Fla.).
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The coordinating judge in the federal Engle cases pending in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida on May 11 approved a plan for distributing $100 million in settlement funds to plaintiffs in more than 400 cases (In re Engle Cases, No. 3:09-10000, M.D. Fla.).
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on May 11 denied an insurer's motion for summary judgment after determining that a policy's endorsement for injuries arising from the aerial application of chemicals provides coverage for underlying claims stemming from the insured's use of an herbicide (National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, Pa. v. Florida Crystals Corp., et al., No. 14-81134, S.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 61308).
TAMPA, Fla. - An environmental group's lawsuit alleging that the City of North Port, Fla., and three state officials violated the Clean Water Act (CWA) by allowing sand, 55-gallon drums and plastic sheeting to be disposed of at Warm Mineral Springs, a 200-foot-deep pond, was found untimely May 8 by a federal judge in Florida, who ruled that the materials were put there more than five years ago (Friends of Warm Mineral Springs Inc., et al. v. Gina McCarthy, No. 13-cv-3236-T-23TGW, M.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 60601).
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - A Florida appeals panel on May 8 reversed a trial court judge's ruling that a condominium association's construction defects lawsuit was barred by the state's 10-year statute of repose, finding that the statute begins to run when a contract is completed rather than when construction is finished (Cypress Fairway Condominium Association, et al. v. Bergeron Construction Co. Inc., et al., No. 5D13-4102, Fla. App., 5th Dist.; 2015 Fla. App. LEXIS 6841).
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on May 5 granted a bank's motion to dismiss claims in a class action lawsuit alleging that the bank and insurers colluded to manipulate the force-placed insurance market and artificially inflated the amounts that mortgage borrowers were charged for policy premiums (Wilson, et al. v. EverBank, N.A., et al., No. 14-22264, S.D. Fla.).
ATLANTA - A group of firms that represent plaintiffs in litigation against the tobacco industry in Florida state court filed an amicus curiae brief with the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 4 in support of a petition urging the court to reconsider its ruling that strict liability and negligence claims asserted in Engle progeny suit are preempted by federal law (Earl E. Graham, as Personal Representative of the Estate of Faye Dale Graham v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 13-14590, 11th Cir.).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida appeals panel on May 6 reversed a lower court's denial of an insurer's motion to compel arbitration in a dispute over coverage for a $1 million judgment, remanding for an order compelling the issue of arbitrability to an arbitrator (Allied Professionals Insurance Co. v. Brian Fitzpatrick, et al., No. 4D13-3961, Fla. App., 4th Dist.; 2015 Fla. App. LEXIS 6746).
MIAMI - Comments made during closing arguments by counsel for the plaintiff in a tobacco suit were improper, but not prejudicial, the Third District Florida Court of Appeal ruled May 6, affirming a $5 million jury verdict for a man who alleged that his coronary heart disease was caused by his 40 years of smoking (Philip Morris USA Inc. v. Antonio Cuculino, Nos. 3D14-1339 and 3D14-823, Fla. App., 3rd Dist.; 2015 Fla. App. LEXIS 6696).
TAMPA, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on May 4 granted in part and denied in part motions by C.R. Bard Inc. to exclude the testimony of three plaintiff experts in an inferior vena cava (IVC) injury case (Denise Ocasio, et al. v. C.R. Bard, Inc., et al., No. 13-1962, M.D. Fla., Tampa Div.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 58163).
FORT MYERS, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on May 4 partially granted a motion for conditional certification of a class of current and former cable installers seeking unpaid wages and overtime (David Trentman, et al. v. RWL Communications, Inc., et al., No. 15-89, M.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 58153).
TAMPA, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on May 5 allowed certain claims asserted by a borrower who alleged that a mortgage company violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) by leaving automated messages on her phone in relation to the collection of mortgage debt, but dismissed her claim for violation of the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act (FCCPA) (Lisa E. Wilcox v. Green Tree Servicing LLC, No. 8:14-cv-1681, M.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 58667).
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A federal jury's finding that a smoker suffering from lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) failed to show that he was addicted to cigarettes is against the great weight of the evidence, a federal judge in Florida ruled May 4 (William Starbuck v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 3:09-CV-13250-WGY-HTS, M.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 58802).
ORLANDO, Fla. - Efforts by the operators of a virtual school to obtain dismissal of trademark infringement claims by a competing, state-run virtual school failed May 4, when a Florida federal judge rejected arguments that the State of Florida must be joined to the action as an indispensable party (Florida Virtualschool v. K12 Inc., et al., No. 11-831, M.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 58158).
BRADENTON, Fla. - A Florida state court judge declared a mistrial May 5 in a suit by the family of a smoker who died of coronary artery disease at age 45, citing the failure of the plaintiffs to inform the court that a key witness had changed his testimony part way through the trial (Madonna Dupre, et al. v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 2011CA005529, Fla. 12th Jud. Cir., Manatee Co.).
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A state court jury awarded more than $6.3 million May 1 to the family of a longtime smoker who died of lung cancer but declined to award punitive damages against defendant Philip Morris USA Inc. (Mary Brown, as Personal Representative of the Estate of Rayfield Brown, et al. v. Philip Morris USA Inc., No. 2008-CA-015000, Fla. 4th Jud. Cir., Duval Co.).
TAMPA, Fla. - A Florida woman who sued over unsolicited political calls placed to her cell phone failed to prove commonality in her motion for class certification, a Florida federal judge ruled April 27 (Lori Shamblin, et al. v. Obama for America, et al., No. 13-2428, M.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 54849).