LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Former Law Firm Employees Argue Against Sanctions For Not Preserving Smartphones

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - In a May 9 brief in Florida federal court, two former legal assistants, who are defendants in a computer fraud lawsuit, argue that sanctions are not merited for their failure to keep smartphones they owned at the time they purportedly hacked into their former employer's email system, contending that they did not act willfully or in bad faith (Goldstein Law Group P.A. v. Leviette Machado, et al., No. 0:15-cv-61145, S.D. Fla.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Tobacco Plaintiff Asks Court To Deny Motion To Stay Proceedings

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A woman who won an Engle progeny verdict against Philip Morris USA Inc. asked a federal judge in Florida on May 2 to deny the tobacco company's motion to stay her motion to reinstate her punitive damages award, saying it would be "needlessly cruel" to stay her 20-year-old case (Judith Berger v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 3:09-cv-14157, M.D. Fla.).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Permanent Injunction Limits Drug Compounder Franck From Resuming Business

OCALA, Fla. - The former owner of several compounding pharmacies, including the one at the center of the Brilliant Blue G contamination outbreak, on April 29 agreed to a permanent injunction in Florida federal court requiring it to notify the Food and Drug Administration if he ever starts compounding drugs again (United States of America v. Paul W. Franck, No. 16-85, M.D. Fla., Ocala Div.).

Mealey's Insurance - Panel: Court Should Have Required Insureds To Enter Subsurface Repair Contract

LAKELAND, Fla. - A Florida appeals panel on April 29 reversed a lower court's final judgment in favor of insureds in a sinkhole coverage dispute to the extent that it awarded money damages for subsurface repairs without requiring the insureds to enter into a contract for those repairs, further reversing the court's prejudgment interest award (Citizens Property Insurance Corp. v. Migdalia Cabrera, et al., No. 2D14-4337, Fla. App., 2nd Dist.; 2016 Fla. App. LEXIS 6529).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Florida Jury Awards Deceased Smoker's Family $33.5 Million

PALM BEACH, Fla. - A jury in Florida on April 27 awarded the widow of a smoker who died from lung cancer $12.5 million in punitive damages, bringing the total award to the family to $33.5 million (Purdo v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 2007CA024173, Fla. Cir., 15th Jud. Cir., Palm Beach Co.).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge Vacates Default Judgment Against Insured In Defects Coverage Suit

TAMPA, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on April 26 vacated a default judgment against an insured subcontractor in an insurer's declaratory judgment action, citing the involvement of multiple defendant parties also named in an underlying construction defect case (Southern Owners Insurance Co. v. Gallo Building Services, Inc., et al., No. 15-01440, M.D. Fla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 55572).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Panel Reverses Jury Verdict In Light Of Error In Allowing Testimony On Medical Costs

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - A trial judge erred in allowing a physician's assistant to testify as an expert on the need and cost for a future surgery, a Florida appeals panel held April 22, reversing a $166,000 jury verdict entered against an insurer and remanding for a new trial on damages (State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. v. William Long, Nos. 5D14-3704 & 5D15-1749, Fla. App., 5th Dist.; 2016 Fla. App. LEXIS 6148).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Federal Judge Partially Grants Dismissal In Suit Alleging Insurance Kickbacks

ORLANDO, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on April 18 partially granted and partially denied motions to dismiss a proposed class complaint accusing a mortgage servicer and an insurer of engaging in a kickback scheme where borrowers were overcharged for "force-placed" insurance (John C. Sekula, et al. v. Residential Credit Solutions, Inc., et al., No. 15-2104, M.D. Fla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 51636).

Mealey's Banking & Finance - Federal Judge Partially Grants Dismissal In Suit Alleging Insurance Kickbacks

ORLANDO, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on April 18 partially granted and partially denied motions to dismiss a proposed class complaint accusing a mortgage servicer and an insurer of engaging in a kickback scheme where borrowers were overcharged for "force-placed" insurance (John C. Sekula, et al. v. Residential Credit Solutions, Inc., et al., No. 15-2104, M.D. Fla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 51636).

Mealey's Insurance - Insureds Failed To Plead Injury In Fact In Bad Faith Suit, Judge Rules

TAMPA, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on April 15 remanded an insurance bad faith lawsuit to state court, ruling that insureds failed to plead an injury in fact in making their claims against an insurer over its handling of claims in a third-party lawsuit (Wright Insurance Agency Inc. v. Nationwide Mutual Fire Insurance Co., No. 15-1857, M.D. Fla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 50975).

Mealey's Insurance - Florida Panel: Defense Owed For Suit Arising From Robotic Solicitation Calls

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida appeals panel held April 13 that because an insured did not intend to cause an injury or break state law by placing automated solicitation telephone calls, a lower court did not err in finding that the calls constituted an "occurrence" triggering coverage under a general liability insurance policy (Old Dominion Insurance Co. v. Stellar Concepts & Design Inc., et al., No. 4D14-4601, Fla. App., 4th Dist.; 2016 Fla. App. LEXIS 5608).

Mealey's Insurance - Florida Panel Reverses Ruling As To Subsurface Repairs In Sinkhole Coverage Suit

LAKELAND, Fla. - A Florida appeals panel on April 13 reversed a lower court's final judgment to the extent that it awarded insureds monetary damages for subsurface repairs without requiring them to enter into a contract for those repairs in a sinkhole coverage dispute (Citizens Property Insurance Corp. v. Niurka Simoneau, et al., No. 2D14-4183, Fla. App., 2nd Dist.; 2016 Fla. App. LEXIS 5551).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge: Breach Of Fiduciary Duty Claim Is Duplicative Of Other Bad Faith Claims

ORLANDO, Fla. - A federal judge in Florida on April 11 granted in part and denied in part an insurer's motion to dismiss in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit, ruling that dismissal of an insured's breach of fiduciary duty claim is proper because it is duplicative of the insured's other bad faith claims (Janis Braddy v. Infinity Assurance Insurance Co., No. 15-119, M.D. Fla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 48565).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Florida Appellate Panel Remands Engle Suit For Stay Of Execution On Judgment

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - A Florida appeals panel on April 12 found that a trial court erred by not entering a stay of final judgment in a tobacco case because the tobacco company had begun to exercise its right to seek a further review of the case by the U.S. Supreme Court (R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. v. Janice L. Sikes, as personal representative for the estate of Jimmie Wayne Sikes, No. 1D13-3183, Fla. App., 1st Dist.; 2016 Fla. App. LEXIS 5539).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Judge: Widow's Asbestos Claims Against Talc, Auto-Body Filler Defendants Fail

OCALA, Fla. - A widow lacks sufficiently precise allegations about who, how and when three defendants misrepresented the safety of talc and auto-body filler she claims contained asbestos, a Florida judge held April 8 in dismissing claims without prejudice (Carmen Viera, et al. v. BASF Catalysts LLC, et al., No. 16-1, M.D. Fla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 47787).

Mealey's IP/Tech - Copyright Dispute Over 'Hustlin' Dismissed By Florida Federal Judge

MIAMI - Citing undisputed evidence that three plaintiffs were aware of three different copyright registrations for the musical composition "Hustlin'" - as well as that the same plaintiffs "took no steps to correct, amend or address the" multiple registrations during two years of infringement litigation - a Florida federal judge on April 8 granted dismissal of the case (William L. Roberts, et al. v. Stefan Kendal Gordy, et al., No. 13-24700, S.D. Fla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 47694).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge: Widow's Asbestos Claims Against Talc, Auto-Body Filler Defendants Fail

OCALA, Fla. - A widow lacks sufficiently precise allegations about who, how and when three defendants misrepresented the safety of talc and auto-body filler she claims contained asbestos, a Florida judge held April 8 in dismissing claims without prejudice (Carmen Viera, et al. v. BASF Catalysts LLC, et al., No. 16-1, M.D. Fla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 47787).

Mealey's Insurance - Florida Panel Partly Reverses Final Judgment In Sinkhole Coverage Dispute

LAKELAND, Fla. - A Florida appeals panel on April 8 determined that a lower court erred in awarding monetary damages to insureds without recognizing the homeowners insurer's right to withhold payment for the cost of subsurface repairs until the insureds entered into a contract for those repairs, further finding that the trial court also erred in awarding prejudgment interest (Citizens Property Insurance Corp. v. Daniel Blaha and Clyndon Blaha, No. 2D14-939, Fla. App., 2nd Dist.; 2016 Fla. App. LEXIS 5399).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Jury Renders Defense Verdict In Florida Tobacco Suit

MIAMI - A Florida jury on April 7 issued a verdict for a defendant tobacco company, finding that the deceased husband of a Florida woman died because of his addiction to cigarettes and not because of the particular brand of cigarettes he smoked (Patsy Davis v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. 2010-045478-CA-01. Fla. Cir., 11th Cir., Dade Co.).

Mealey's IP/Tech - Federal Circuit Remands Patent Dispute For New Trial In Florida

WASHINGTON, D.C. - In a case that returned to the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals following what it deemed "an unusual set of circumstances," a divided appellate panel on April 7 found that a Florida federal judge abused his discretion in denying patent plaintiff Rembrandt Vision Technologies LP a new trial pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure (60)(b)(3) (Rembrandt Vision Technologies LP v. Johnson & Johnson Vision Care Inc., No. 15-1079, Fed. Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 6332).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Florida Appeals Court Finds Blunts Are Not Loose Tobacco Products

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - A Florida appeals panel on April 6 found that blunt wraps used to wrap homemade cigars are not subject to taxation because they are not legally considered "loose tobacco" under Florida law, reversing an assessment against a company that sold blunts in the state between 2009 and 2011 (Brandy's Products Inc. v. Department of Business and Professional Regulation, Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco, No. 1D15-3101, Fla. App. 1st Dist.; 2016 Fla. App. LEXIS 5244).

Mealey's Insurance - Panel: 'Insured Vs. Insured' Exclusions Bars Coverage For Claim Over Stock Buyback

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - A Florida appeals panel on April 4 held that the "insured versus insured" exclusion in a directors and officers liability insurance policy precludes coverage for an underlying judgment in excess of $1 million arising from a stock buyback (Dennis Durant v. Brian James and Progressive Casualty Insurance Co., No. 1D15-3075, Fla. App., 1st Dist.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Oil Spill MDL Judge Approves BP's $18B Settlement With Government, Gulf States

NEW ORLEANS - The federal judge in Louisiana presiding over litigation stemming from the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig and ensuing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico on April 4 approved an $18 billion settlement offered by BP Exploration and Production Inc. to resolve Clean Water Act (CWA) and natural resource damages claims brought by the federal government and states of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas (In re: Oil Spill by the Oil Rig "Deepwater Horizon" in the Gulf of Mexico, on April 20, 2010, MDL 2179, Case No. 09-md-2179, E.D. La).

Mealey's Insurance - Florida Panel Partly Reverses $1.4M Award In Sinkhole Coverage Dispute

LAKELAND, Fla. - A Florida appeals panel March 30 reversed in part a lower court's order awarding more than $1.4 million in fees, costs and prejudgment interest to an insured in a sinkhole coverage dispute (Citizens Property Insurance Corp. v. River Oaks Condominium II Association Inc., a/k/a River Oaks II Condo Association Inc., No. 2D13-4331, Fla. App., 2nd Dist.; 2016 Fla. App. LEXIS 4810).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Mechanic May Opine On RV's Condition In Breach Of Warranty Case, Judge Says

TAMPA, Fla. - A mechanic is qualified to offer an opinion as to the mechanical condition of a slide-out room on a recreational vehicle (RV) in a breach of warranty lawsuit, a Florida federal judge ruled March 28, denying a motion to exclude (Michael Johnson and Karla Johnson v. Thor Motor Coach, Inc., No. 15-85, M.D. Fla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 40193).