FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A Florida jury on Feb. 5 awarded the family of a former smoker $27 million in punitive damages in an Engle progeny suit, bringing the total amount of damages to $40.9 million (Dawn Schlefstein v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. 2008-CV-022558, Fla. 17th Jud. Cir. Broward Co.).
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on Jan. 30 granted a default judgment in favor of the U.S. government for $10,532.47, plus continuing interest, for its reinsurance coverage of a student loan after the defendant failed to appear (United States of America v. Stephon B. Meadows, No. 17-1087, M.D. Fla., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14639).
ATLANTA - Based on an answer from Florida's high court, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 26 reversed the entry of summary judgment in favor of an insurer, vacated a final judgment and remanded to federal court for further proceedings (Altman Contractors Inc. v. Crum & Forster Specialty Insurance Co., No. 15-12816, 11th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 1957).
DELAND, Fla. - A jury in Florida on Jan. 24 found in favor of a tobacco company in an Engle progeny suit in which a woman claimed that her husband was addicted to cigarettes made by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and that his addiction was the cause of his oral cavity cancer and death (Dorothy Mae Kelsey v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. 2007 33215 CICI, Fla. 7th Jud. Cir., Volusia Co.). VIDEO FROM THE TRIAL IS AVALABLE.
TAMPA, Fla. - After a zoo and its owners failed to submit timely discovery responses in relation to allegations that they violated the Endangered Species Act (ESA), a Florida federal judge on Jan. 19 partially granted a motion filed by the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals Inc. (PETA) for sanctions (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals v. Dad City's Wild Things, No. 16-2899, M.D. Fla., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8761).
ATLANTA - The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 22 affirmed summary judgment in an Enbrel infection case, finding that Florida's learned intermediary doctrine was property applied in a summary judgment ruling and that the plaintiff failed to address a later summary judgment ruling on causation testimony (Rebecca A. Small, et al. v. Amgen, Inc., et al., No. 17-11440, 11th Cir.).
ORLANDO, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on Jan. 18 granted a mortgage servicer and a law firm's motion to dismiss claims for violation of federal and Florida law asserted against them by a borrower, finding that a statute of limitations did not apply to their attempt to collect a debt (Dudley Blake v. Select Portfolio Servicing Inc., et al., No. 6:17-cv-1523, M.D. Fla., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7765).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.- A Florida appeals panel on Jan. 17 found that a lower court wrongly applied the efficient proximate cause doctrine in instructing the jury and improperly shifted the burden of proof in a hailstorm coverage dispute, reversing and remanding (Richard W. Jones, et al. v. Federated National Insurance Company, No. 4D16-2579, Fla. App., 4th Dist., 2018 Fla. App. LEXIS 561).
TAMPA, Fla. - After finding that mortgage-related documents showed that two people had an interest in a property, a Florida federal judge on Jan. 16 refused to dismiss a bank's foreclosure action against them (Centennial Bank v. Bakerfield Custom Homes Corp., et al., No. 8:17-cv-01721, M.D. Fla., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7467).
MIAMI - The majority of a Florida appeals court on Jan. 17 found that the opinions of a plaintiff's expert did not have sufficient evidentiary weight to be submitted to the jury, affirming a lower court's judgment notwithstanding a jury verdict in a lawsuit against a nursing facility and its administrators (Robert Siegel, etc., v. Cross Senior Care, Inc., et al., No. 3D16-600, Fla. App., 3rd Dist., 2018 Fla. App. LEXIS 498).
MIAMI - A Florida federal judge on Jan. 12 granted a joint motion to dismiss a petition to vacate and a cross-petition to confirm a $18,068,685 international arbitral award issued in a dispute over a contract for the excavation of tunnels as part of a project for the construction of a hydroelectric plant in Guatemala (Cobra Infraestructuras Hidraulicas S.A. v. Societa Esecuzione Lavori Idraulici, S.p.A., et al., No. 17-23664, S.D. Fla.).
ORLANDO, Fla. - A Florida federal magistrate judge on Jan. 11 denied a motion by Cigna Corp. to strike a proposed class and subclass in a lawsuit accusing the company of violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) by placing automated calls to individuals who did not give their consent and to wrong numbers (Crystal DeJesus v. Cigna Corporation, No. 17-1208, M.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5149).
TAMPA, Fla. - A court can adequately manage its docket without staying proceedings while considering a motion for remand, a motion it should deny and then grant summary judgment, because an insurer's actions complied with the terms of the insured's Employee Retirement Income Security Act plan, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida told a federal judge on Jan. 11 (Premier Inpatient Partners LLC, et al. v. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida Inc., Nos. 17-3000, 17-3001, M.D. Fla.).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida appeals panel on Jan. 10 reversed a $4.5 million verdict in an Engle progeny suit without explanation but ordered that a plaintiff who represents her mother's estate be able to file leave to add punitive damages (Philip Morris USA Inc., et al. v. Jacqueline Mechelle Blackwood, No. 4D16-897, Fla. App., 4th Dist., 2018 Fla. App. LEXIS 309).
DUBLIN, Ireland - Endo International plc on Jan. 11 announced that subsidiary Endo Pharmaceuticals Inc. has received a grand jury subpoena from the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida for documents and information about the company's oxymorphone products.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A commercial general liability insurance policy excludes coverage for an insured's underlying construction defects lawsuits arising out of stucco damage, the insurer says in a Jan. 10 complaint filed in a Florida federal court (Auto-Owners Insurance Co. v. Kis Construction LLC, et al., No. 18-00086, M.D. Fla.).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A majority of an appellate panel in Florida on Jan. 10 affirmed a trial court's decision to grant a tobacco company's motion for a new trial in an Engle progeny suit because the court cured its own error of dismissing 31 potential jurors without giving the defense the opportunity to question them (Heather Irimi v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 4D15-759, Fla. App., 4th Dist., 2018 Fla. App. LEXIS 322).
TAMPA, Fla. - An inpatient medical provider's suit invokes third-party beneficiary rights stemming from an ERISA plan and is completely preempted regardless of its state law origin, an insurer told a federal judge in Florida on Jan. 8 (Premier Inpatient Partners LLC, et al. v. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida Inc., No. 17-3000, M.D. Fla.).
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The Florida Supreme Court on Jan. 5 said it would hear oral arguments in March in an asbestos case involving whether Daubert can be applied in Florida and whether expert testimony that every exposure to asbestos leads to mesothelioma satisfies whatever standard the state uses (Richard DeLisle v. Crane Co., et al., No. SC16-2182, Fla. Sup.).
ORLANDO, Fla. - Two couples who were subsequent purchasers of homes built by Pulte Home Corp. that had allegedly improperly installed stucco dismissed their lawsuit in Florida federal court on Jan. 3 after reaching settlements with the company (Shaun Gazzara, et al. v. Pulte Home Corporation, No. 16-cv-657-Orl-31TBS, M.D. Fla.).
TAMPA, Fla. - Genuine issues of material fact remain as to whether repairs resolved sinkhole activity in an insured home, a Florida federal judge ruled Jan. 2, denying summary judgment to an insurer on a breach of contract claim (Gerald Gagliardi, et al. v. Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Co., No. 16-3354, M.D. Fla., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 267).
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The Florida Supreme Court on Dec. 29 approved the voluntary dismissal of a review in a workers' compensation lawsuit filed by an employer and its insolvent insurer against a claimant (Laura Stewart v. Florida Workers' Compensation Insurance Guaranty Association, et al., No. SC17-1757, Fla. Sup., 2017 Fla. LEXIS 2568).