LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
Mealey's Insurance - Magistrate Judge: No Bad Faith Claim Without Showing Of Breach Of Contract

MIAMI - An insured cannot bring claims against its insurer for bad faith until it has first shown that the insurer breached the terms of its insurance policy with the insured, a federal magistrate judge in Florida ruled Dec. 19 in granting the insurer's motion to abate the insurer's bad faith claims (Katchmore Luhrs LLC v. Allianz Global & Corporate Specialty, No. 15-23420, S.D. Fla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 175004).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Florida Jury Awards Amputee $275,000 In Medical Malpractice Suit

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida jury on Dec. 15 awarded $275,000 to a man who had his leg amputated after finding that if a hospital had diagnosed his arterial blockage, the man's leg could have been saved (Stanley Rovner v. West Boca Medical Center, No. 2015-CA-004973, Fla. 15th Jud. Cir. Palm Beach Co.).

Mealey's Securities/D&O Liability - SEC Pleaded Material Misrepresentation, Scienter Against CFO, Judge Rules

TAMPA, Fla. - The Securities and Exchange Commission has properly pleaded a material misrepresentation or omission in claiming that the former chief financial officer (CFO) of a petroleum storage and sales company withheld information from investors regarding, inter alia, the storage capacity of tanks at the company's three facilities in violation of federal securities laws, a federal judge in Florida ruled Dec. 9 in denying the CFO's motion to dismiss the complaint in its entirety (Securities and Exchange Commission v. Michael P. Toups, et al., No. 16-1798, M.D. Fla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 171478).

Mealey's Labor & Employment - Walt Disney Employees File Race Bias Class Suit

ORLANDO, Fla. - Walt Disney Parks and Resorts U.S. Inc. discriminated against approximately 250 employees when it terminated them and replaced them with workers from India, more than two dozen of the former employees allege in a class complaint filed Dec. 12 in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida (Leonardo Perrero, et al. v. Walt Disney Parks and Resorts U.S., Inc., No. 16-2144, M.D. Fla.).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Walt Disney Employees File Race Bias Class Suit

ORLANDO, Fla. - Walt Disney Parks and Resorts U.S. Inc. discriminated against approximately 250 employees when it terminated them and replaced them with workers from India, more than two dozen of the former employees allege in a class complaint filed Dec. 12 in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida (Leonardo Perrero, et al. v. Walt Disney Parks and Resorts U.S., Inc., No. 16-2144, M.D. Fla.).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Judge Dismisses Claim That Pulte Intentionally Violated Building Code

ORLANDO, Fla. - A federal judge in Florida on Dec. 12 dismissed with prejudice a claim asserted by a putative class of homeowners accusing Pulte Home Corp. of intentionally applying stucco in a manner that violated the Florida Building Code, ruling that the statute does not allow such a cause of action (Shaun Parker Gazzara, et al. v. Pulte Home Corporation, No. 16-CV-657-Orl-31TBS, M.D. Fla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 171271).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Florida Condo Owners Granted Class Certification In Suit Alleging Overcharges

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on Dec. 8 certified a class of Florida condo owners suing the owners and managers of a hotel located in the same complex for allegedly overcharging the unit owners for the cost of upkeep for the shared components such as lobby, parking garage and fitness center (Gary Dear, et al. v. Q Cub Hotel, LLC, No. 15-60474, S.D. Fla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 91200).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Judge Dismisses Claim That Pulte Intentionally Violated Building Code

ORLANDO, Fla. - A federal judge in Florida on Dec. 12 dismissed with prejudice a claim asserted by a putative class of homeowners accusing Pulte Home Corp. of intentionally applying stucco in a manner that violated the Florida Building Code, ruling that the statute does not allow such a cause of action (Shaun Parker Gazzara, et al. v. Pulte Home Corporation, No. 16-CV-657-Orl-31TBS, M.D. Fla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 171271).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Florida Appellate Panel Remands Engle Suit To Disqualify Plaintiff's Attorney

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida appellate panel on Dec. 7 found a trial court erred in denying Philip Morris USA Inc.'s motion to dismiss the law firm representing her because one of her attorneys previously represented Philip Morris in similar lawsuits, which prevents him from being the plaintiff's attorney under Florida law (Philip Morris USA Inc. v. Ada Caro, No. 4D16-2416, Fla. App., 4th Dist.; 2016 Fla. App. LEXIS 18077).

Mealey's IP/Tech - Florida Federal Judge: Copyright, Trademark Case Fails To State A Claim

FORT MYERS, Fla. - Allegations by a pro se plaintiff that two individual defendants committed copyright and trademark infringement are insufficiently pleaded, a Florida federal judge ruled Dec. 6 (Daniel A. Bernath v. Don Shipley, et al., No. 16-40, M.D. Fla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 168253).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Florida Appellate Panel Reverses Summary Judgment In Dog Bite Suit

MIAMI - A Florida appellate panel on Nov. 30 reversed summary judgment in favor of a guard dog company in a dog bite suit because Florida's dog bite law "imposes strict liability on dog owners, subject only to a plaintiff's comparative negligence, which in this case must be determined by the trier-of-fact" (Lisa Arellano v. Broward K-9/Miami K-9 Services Inc., No. 3D16-314, Fla. App., 3rd Dist.; 2016 Fla. App. LEXIS 17699).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Florida Appellate Panel Vacates $20 Million Tobacco Verdict

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida appellate panel on Nov. 30 vacated a $20 million verdict awarded to the estate of a woman following a trial in an Engle progeny suit after finding that the damages awarded by the jury were excessive (R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. v. Gwendolyn E. Odom, No. 4D14-3867, Fla. App., 4th Dist.; 2016 Fla. App. LEXIS 17713).

Mealey's Insurance - Court Erred In Rejecting Concurring Cause Doctrine, Majority Says, Quashes Order

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - A majority of the Florida Supreme Court on Dec. 1 held that an appeals court erred in reversing an $8 million judgment against a homeowners insurer in a coverage dispute over alleged property damage caused by construction defects, rain and wind, quashing the lower court's opinion and remanding to apply the concurring cause doctrine (John Robert Sebo v. American Home Assurance Co. Inc., No. 14-897, Fla. Sup.; 2016 Fla. LEXIS 2596).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Class Complaint Alleges Phone Maker, Software Firm Shared Personal Information

MIAMI - In a putative class complaint filed Nov. 22 in Florida federal court, a smartphone owner alleges that his phone's manufacturer and a firmware provider violated privacy and warranty laws by intercepting and transmitting his personal information without authorization to a Chinese server (Aaron Bonds v. Blu Products Inc., et al., No. 1:16-cv-24892, S.D. Fla.).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Former NFL Players Seek Change To CBA To Protect Living Players With CTE

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Thirty-eight former National Football League (NFL) players on Nov. 21 filed suit in Florida federal court against the league and the teams that comprise, claiming that they were not protected from the dangers of concussions and not warned about chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) (Tony Gaiter, et al. v. National Football League Inc., et al., No. 0:16-cv-62755-BB, S.D. Fla.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Fertilizer Maker: Tainted Groundwater Case Fails; Jurisdiction Lacking

TAMPA, Fla. - Fertilizer manufacturers who are being sued for groundwater contamination allegedly connected to an incident at their plant moved in federal court in Florida on Nov. 21, contending that the case should be dismissed because the plaintiffs' complaint "does not contain a single allegation that" contaminants have been detected beyond the borders of the property where the plant is located and because jurisdiction is lacking (Nicholas Bohn, et al. v. The Mosaic Company, et al., No. 16-02724, M.D. Fla.).

Mealey's Health Law - Former Pharmacy Owner Convicted For Role In $700,000 Medicare Fraud Scheme

MIAMI - A former pharmacy owner was convicted by a federal jury in Florida on Nov. 16 of three counts of health care fraud for his role in a scheme in which he fraudulently billed Medicare $700,000 for prescription drugs that were never dispensed (United States of America v. Andres Alfonso, No. 16-cr-20567, S.D. Fla.).

Mealey's Insurance - Florida Federal Judge Says No Evidence That EIFS Was Defectively Installed

ORLANDO, Fla. - Because there is no evidence that an insured's exterior insulation finishing system (EIFS) was defectively installed, a Florida federal judge on Nov. 18 denied an insurer's motion for summary judgment in a suit filed by an insured seeking coverage for water and mold damages to the insured's home (George Crews, et al. v. Federal Insurance Co., No. 15-866, M.D. Fla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 160200).

Mealey's Insurance - Former Pharmacy Owner Convicted For Role In $700,000 Medicare Fraud Scheme

MIAMI - A former pharmacy owner was convicted by a federal jury in Florida on Nov. 16 of three counts of health care fraud for his role in a scheme in which he fraudulently billed Medicare $700,000 for prescription drugs that were never dispensed (United States of America v. Andres Alfonso, No. 16-cr-20567, S.D. Fla.).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Class Certification Denied In FDCPA Suit; Plaintiff Awarded $1 For Damages

TAMPA, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on Nov. 14 declined to certify a class of individuals who received debt collection notices that violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), finding that a class action was not the superior method for adjudicating the matter; the judge granted the named plaintiff's summary judgment motion and awarded the plaintiff $1 in statutory damages (Ronnie E. Dickens v. GC Services Limited Partnership, No. 16-803, M.D. Fla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 156916).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Florida Jury Finds For Defense In Tobacco Suit

NAPLES, Fla. - A Florida jury on Nov. 14 found in favor of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. in an Engle progeny suit, determining that a woman knew or should have known that she had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) before the cutoff date to file an Engle progeny suit (Patricia Kloppenburg v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. 1006472CA, Fla. 20th Jud. Cir. Collier Co.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Jury Awards $4 Million In Engle Progeny Suit To Woman With COPD

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A Florida state court jury on Nov. 14 awarded $4 million to a woman who developed chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) after finding that she developed the disease by smoking cigarettes made by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and Philip Morris USA Inc. (Mary Howles v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 2007-CV-034919, Fla. Cir., 17th Jud., Broward Co.).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Judge: Forensic Engineer's Testimony In Personal Injury Suit Is Unreliable, Inadmissible

MIAMI - A forensic engineer's expert testimony on why a woman fell from a plane's mobile stairway and why an airline should maintain information on the stairway's model is unreliable and inadmissible, a Florida federal judge ruled Nov. 8, excluding the testimony supporting the woman's claims that her injuries were not an accident (Esther Serrano v. American Airlines Inc., No. 15-23382, S.D. Fla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 154826).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Judge: Forensic Engineer's Testimony In Personal Injury Suit Is Unreliable, Inadmissible

MIAMI - A forensic engineer's expert testimony on why a woman fell from a plane's mobile stairway and why an airline should maintain information on the stairway's model is unreliable and inadmissible, a Florida federal judge ruled Nov. 8, excluding the testimony supporting the woman's claims that her injuries were not an accident (Esther Serrano v. American Airlines Inc., No. 15-23382, S.D. Fla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 154826).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Florida Jury Finds For Defense In Medical Malpractice Suit

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida jury on Nov. 2 found that a doctor was not negligent in obtaining informed consent to perform electroshock therapy on a patient being treated for depression (Shaul Dadi v. Praturi Sharma, No. 2011-CA-16027, Fla. 15th Jud. Cir. Palm Co.).