TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Two companies on Oct. 20 defended a ruling rejecting an $8 million judgment, telling the Florida Supreme Court that the state's Legislature is free to adopt the Daubert standard and that expert testimony that every exposure to asbestos leads to mesothelioma fails regardless of which standard the court applies (Richard DeLisle v. Crane Co., et al., No. SC16-2182, Fla. Sup.).
MIAMI - An insured's suit seeking damages caused by the failure of a sprinkler system must be remanded because it is not clear if the state court's order severing the claims against the insurer and the sprinkler system company created two separate actions, a Florida federal judge said Oct. 19 in granting the insured's motion to remand (Caton Owner LLC v. Mt. Hawley Insurance Co., No. 17-22051, S.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 174229).
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A panel of judges in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida on Oct. 18 ordered two law firms pay $9.1 million in sanctions for filing 1,250 frivolous Engle progeny complaints (In Re: Engle Cases, No. 3:09-cv-10000, M.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 172678).
ORLANDO, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on Oct. 17 dismissed, rather than severing or staying, an insured's bad faith counterclaim against an auto insurer because under Florida law, a bad faith claim cannot be alleged until a determination of the insured's damages has been made (Owners Insurance Co. v. Michael Berke, No. 17-1505, M.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 171454).
ORLANDO, Fla. - A declaratory judgment defendant and copyright, trademark and trade dress infringement counterclaimant partly prevailed Oct. 18 before a Florida federal magistrate judge, who agreed to strike various affirmative defenses raised in response to the counterclaims (Systematic Home Staging LLC v. MHM Professional Staging LLC, No. 17-1327, M.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 172036).
MIAMI - After previously reversing a lower court's ruling in favor of a homeowner in a Hurricane Wilma coverage dispute, a Florida appeals panel on Oct. 18 reversed the lower court's ruling on remand in favor of the insurer, finding that a genuine issue of material fact remains regarding whether a letter from the insurer constituted a denial of coverage (Haim Michel Ifergane, Appellant, vs. Citizens Property Insurance Corp., No. 3D16-1142, Fla. App., 3rd Dist., 2017 Fla. App. LEXIS 14745).
ATLANTA - A Florida federal judge's decision to deny a preliminary injunction barring an infringement defendant from using the "HealthPrint" trademark was affirmed Oct. 17 by the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, which found that evidence of actual confusion is lacking in the case (Superior Consulting Services Inc. v. Shaklee Corporation, No. 17-11210, 11th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 20265).
ORLANDO, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on Oct. 13 granted a bank's motion to strike a claim for jury demand as to a claim for violation of federal housing law asserted by former homeowners, finding that the request was prohibited by a waiver in the loan documents (Julie O'Steen, et al. v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., et al., No. 6:17-cv-849, M.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 169344).
ORLANDO, Fla. - In an Oct. 12 brief in Florida federal court, a commercial general liability insurer opposes a motion for judgment as to its duty to defend in a data breach coverage dispute, arguing that the hotel that experienced the breach, which is claiming resulting losses, is not an insured under the policy (St. Paul Fire & Marine Insurance Co. v. Rosen Millennium Inc., No. 6:17-cv-00540, M.D. Fla.).
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - After determining that a bad faith claim is premature, a Florida federal judge on Oct. 13 granted an insurer's motion to dismiss the bad faith claim without prejudice to the insured to refile the claim after the insured's claim for uninsured motorist benefits is resolved (Kelsa Toburen v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., No. 17-955, M.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 169642).
TAMPA, Fla. - An insured failed to show that injuries he sustained in an automobile accident were permanent in nature during negotiations with his automobile insurance provider, and thus, the insurer did not act in bad faith in the handling of his claim, a federal judge in Florida ruled Oct. 13 in granting the insurer's summary judgment motion (David Duncan v. GEICO General Insurance Co., No. 17-40, M.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 169347).
ORLANDO, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on Oct. 11 dismissed an insured's claim for bad faith alleged against an insurer in an auto coverage dispute after finding that the bad faith claim is not ripe for adjudication and will not be ripe for adjudication until after the insured's breach of contract claim is decided (Gordon McBride v. Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Co., No. 17-1639, M.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 167901).
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - A panel of the First District Florida Court of Appeal on Oct. 11 affirmed a judge's decision to read a jury instruction in a tobacco trial after finding that there was not enough evidence to show that the instruction prejudiced a tobacco company (R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. v. Colette S. O'Hara, No. 1D15-5764, Fla. App., 1st Dist., 2017 Fla. App. LEXIS 14233).
MIAMI - The Florida Supreme Court should resolve a conflict in the state's appellate courts and firmly reject the discredited "cumulative exposure" asbestos causation theory, a shipyard argues in an Oct. 9 petition (Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., et al. v. Rosa-Maria Britt, et al., No. SC17-1780, Fla. Sup.).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida state court jury on Oct. 10 awarded the widower of a woman more than $7 million after finding that Philip Morris USA Inc. engaged in a conspiracy to mislead the public about the dangers of smoking and that Philip Morris concealing the harmfulness of smoking ultimately led to a woman's lung cancer and death (Michael Gentile v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 2015CA005405, Fla. 15th Jud. Cir., Palm Beach Co.).
ATLANTA - A son who shadowed his father at work for 15 months and then sued for wages following his father's termination may proceed with his claims as his evidence shows that he may have been a trainee during some of the time and an employee during other times, an 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Oct. 6, vacating a trial court's summary judgment ruling for the employer (Scott Axel v. Fields Motorcars of Florida, Inc., No. 16-13829, 11th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 19524).
FORT MYERS, Fla. - A commercial general liability insurer filed its declaratory judgment action on its duty to indemnify an underlying construction defects case prematurely, a Florida federal judge ruled Oct. 5, dismissing the case (Mid-Continent Casualty Co. v. G.R. Construction Management Inc., et al., No. 17-55, M.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 165245).
TAMPA, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on Oct. 4 entered judgment in favor of an insurer in a "personal and advertising injury" coverage dispute, finding that the policy's intellectual property exclusion bars coverage because all of the underlying causes of action were dependent on the insured's infringement of a trademark (Land's End at Sunset Beach Community Association, Inc. v. Aspen Specialty Insurance Co., No. 17-1740, M.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 163457).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A contractor failed to provide sufficient allegations to support its declaratory relief counterclaim against an insurer over coverage for alleged construction defects that damaged an insured's home, a Florida federal judge ruled Sept. 29 (Mid-Continent Casualty Co. v. JWN Construction Inc., et al., No. 17-80286, S.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 160751).
CINCINNATI - An Ohio federal judge on Sept. 29 determined that only one of two plaintiffs can proceed with a breach of contract claim against an insurer that issued long-term care policies because Florida law banning the use of a hospital confinement provision includes the policy issued to only one of the plaintiffs (Maybelle Z. Smith v. Continental Casualty Co., d/b/a CNA Insurance, No. 16-616, S.D. Ohio, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 161558).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 2 declined to hear arguments on an Engle progeny suit in which a Florida appellate panel vacated $54 million in punitive damages (Marvine Calloway v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 16-1507, U.S. Sup.).
MINNEAPOLIS - A complaint by Mayo Clinic and Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (Mayo, collectively) that seeks a declaration that Mayo did not infringe a copyrighted chart in an internal training session cannot proceed in Minnesota because the chart's author has not "purposefully directed" her activities there, a Minnesota federal judge ruled Sept. 27 (Mayo Clinic, et al. v. Enterprise Management Limited Inc. and Mary Lippitt, No. 17-941, D. Minn., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 158786).
MIAMI - A woman filed a medical negligence suit in federal court in Florida on Sept. 20 against a cruise company and its medical staff on one of its cruises, saying the staff failed to properly care for her when she came into the medical center with an illness and that the medical staff breached the standard of care, which caused her to be permanently injured (Aleah Jordan v. Carnival Corporation, et al., No. 1:17-cv-23460, S.D. Fla.).