LAKELAND, Fla. - A Florida appeals panel on April 10 granted a petition for writ of certiorari by Florida Insurance Guaranty Association (FIGA) and quashed a lower court's order granting insureds' motion for partial summary judgment regarding liability and damages associated with subsurface repair costs in a sinkhole damage coverage dispute (Florida Insurance Guaranty Association v. Chad Murphy & Lorraine Murphy, No. 2D13-5609, Fla. App., 2nd Dist.; 2015 Fla. App. LEXIS 5256).
MIAMI - Trial got under way in the Florida 11th Judicial Circuit Court with opening statements April 10 in a suit that was the subject of a Florida Supreme Court ruling eight days earlier resolving a conflict among the state appellate courts on the standard of proof for claims of misrepresentation and fraudulent concealment in Engle-progeny suits (Tina Russo, et al. v. Philip Morris USA Inc., et al., No. 2007-44469-CA-01, Fla. Cir., 11th Jud. Cir., Miami-Dade Co.).
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Opening statements got under way April 10 - for the second time in less than two weeks - in an Engle progeny suit in which a mistrial was declared just two hours after the Florida Supreme Court handed down two rulings on the standard of proof for fraudulent concealment claims against the tobacco industry (Thomas Ryan v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 2008-CV-022579, Fla. Cir., 17th Jud., Broward Co.).
TAMPA, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on April 9 granted a joint motion for approval of a consent decree under which a Florida clinic will pay $150,000 to settle claims brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that it unlawfully terminated a transgender employee in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Lakeland Eye Clinic, P.A., No. 14-2421, M.D. Fla.).
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Building Materials Corp. of America, doing business as GAF Materials Corp. (GAF), was ordered by a federal magistrate judge in Florida on April 8 to pay $500 in sanctions for its delayed production of information about similar lawsuits over allegedly defective roofing adhesive, after the magistrate found that the defendant company's action caused Thermoset Corp. to incur additional expenses (Thermoset Corporation v. Building Materials Corp. of America, et al., No. 14-60268-CIV-COHEN-SELTZER, S.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 45924).
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A federal judge in Florida on April 9 awarded summary judgment to the maker of a roofing adhesive and the company that distributed it after finding that a roof installer's failure to present expert evidence to support its argument that the product was defective is fatal to its claims (Thermoset Corporation v. Building Materials Corp. of America, et al., No. 14-60268-CIV-COHEN-SELTZER, S.D. Fla.).
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - An amendment to the Florida interest-rate statute is applicable to a $25 million award to the estate of a man who died of smoking-related lung cancer, the Florida First District Court of Appeal ruled April 9 (R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. v. Lyantie Townsend, as Personal Representative of the Estate of Frank Townsend, No. 1D14-4147, Fla. App., 1st Dist.; 2015 Fla. App. LEXIS 5131).
MIAMI - A Florida federal judge on April 8 dismissed certain claims filed by a borrower against a mortgage company but allowed her claims for violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) to proceed (Gayle Helman v. Udren Law Office, P.C., No. 14-CV-60808, S.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 45922).
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The federal judge overseeing the Engle cases in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida on April 6 appointed U.S. Magistrate Judge Anthony E. Porcelli of the Middle District of Florida as special master to oversee the $100 million aggregate settlement agreement between tobacco plaintiffs and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., Philip Morris USA Inc. and Lorillard Tobacco Co. (In re: Engle Progeny Cases, No. 3:09-cv-10000-WGY, M.D. Fla.).
ORLANDO, Fla. - Efforts by four defendants to obtain dismissal, on jurisdictional grounds, of trademark infringement allegations were unsuccessful, a federal judge in Florida ruled April 6 (Mighty Men of God Inc. v. World Outreach Church of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, Inc., et al., No. 14-947, M.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 44685).
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - A Florida judge on April 2 terminated an insolvent insurer's liquidation after more than 20 years of liquidation proceedings (In Re: The Receivership of Trans-Florida Casualty Insurance Company, No. 92-CA-002583, Fla. Cir., Leon Co.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Medicare statute precludes a hospital's challenge to reimbursement calculations made under the amended rules of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), a federal judge in the District of Columbia held March 31 (Florida Health Sciences Center Inc., d/b/a Tampa General Hospital v. Secretary U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, No. 14-0791, D. D.C.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 42650).
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A state court judge April 2 declared a mistrial in an Engle progeny case just two hours after the Florida Supreme Court handed down two rulings on the standard of proof for fraudulent concealment claims against the tobacco industry (Thomas Ryan v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 2008-CV-022579, Fla. Cir., 17th Jud., Broward Co.).
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - A plaintiff seeking to assert a fraudulent concealment claim in an Engle progeny suit is not required to prove reliance on statements made by the defendant tobacco company within the 12-year statute of repose period leading up to the May 5, 1994, filing of the original Engle complaint, the Florida Supreme Court ruled unanimously in two decisions issued April 2, resolving a conflict in the state appellate courts (Elaine Hess, et al. v. Philip Morris USA Inc., No. SC12-2153; Philip Morris USA Inc., et al. v. Tina Russo, et al., No. SC12-1401, Fla. Sup.).
MIAMI - A Florida appeals panel on April 1 found that a lower court erred in issuing an order that compelled appraisal in a coverage dispute over a supplemental claim for Hurricane Wilma damage (State Farm Insurance Co. v. Efrain Xirinachs, et al., No. 3D14-1212, Fla. App., 3rd Dist.; 2015 Fla. App. LEXIS 4681).
MIAMI - A Florida federal judge on March 30 granted a cruise line's motion to compel arbitration of a system manager's personal injury claims, finding that the claims must be arbitrated pursuant to Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (Francis D'Cruz v. NCL [Bahamas] Ltd., et al., No. 1:15-cv-20240, S.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 40326).
MIAMI - The federal judge overseeing the consolidated litigation against air bag manufacturer Takata Corp. and six auto manufacturers on March 31 appointed Paul C. Huck Jr. of Jones Day in Miami to serve as special mediator for the litigation (In re: Takata Airbag Products Liability Litigation, No. 15-02599-CIV-Moreno, MDL No. 15-2599, S.D. Fla.).
LAKELAND, Fla. - Finding that there is a material issue of fact as to the proper method of subsurface repair in a sinkhole coverage dispute, a Florida appeals panel on March 27 partly reversed and remanded a lower court's order granting summary judgment in favor of the insurer (Rosalyn Roker v. Tower Hill Preferred Insurance Co., No. 2D13-5565, Fla. App., 2nd Dist.; 2015 Fla. App. LEXIS 4390).
LAKELAND, Fla. - A Florida appeals panel on March 27 reversed and remanded a lower court's order compelling appraisal in a sinkhole coverage dispute and certified two questions to the Florida Supreme Court (Florida Insurance Guaranty Association Inc. v. Franklin Kirschner, et al., No. 2D13-5467, Fla. App., 2nd Dist.; 2015 Fla. App. LEXIS 4393).
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla - A jury in the Florida 19th Judicial Circuit Court for Indian River County on March 26 awarded $2 million to the husband of a smoker who alleged that her lung cancer was caused by her addiction to cigarettes (Robert Gore, et al. v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 08-10052, Fla. 19th Jud. Cir., Indian River Co.).
TAMPA, Fla. - A federal judge in Florida on March 25 denied a title insurer's motion to dismiss its reinsurer's negligence claim, noting the duty of good faith that governs the relationship between insurer and reinsurer (Old Republic National Title Insurance Company v. First American Title Insurance Company, No. 15-cv-00126, M.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 37747).
ORLANDO, Fla. - A federal judge in Florida on March 26 dismissed a declaratory judgment action filed by an insurer seeking determination that it acted in good faith in handling its duty to defend and indemnify an insured in a pair of lawsuits resulting from an automobile accident, ruling that federal court precedent requires such outcome (Hartford Fire Insurance Co. v. Peninsula Logistics Inc., et al., No. 14-0154, M.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 38517).