FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A Utah woman filed a putative class complaint April 18 against the provider of a physician consultation smartphone app, telling a Florida federal court that the app shares users' sensitive medical information with a third-party firm, breaching the app maker's duty to keep this information confidential (Joan Richards v. MDLive Inc., No. 0:17-cv-60760, S.D. Fla.).
ORLANDO, Fla. - Waffle House Inc. and WH Capital LLC (together, Waffle House) and other companies violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), 15 U.S.C. 1681, by obtaining and using information from background reports for job applicants without providing proper disclosures to the applicants before taking adverse actions against them by not hiring them, more than a dozen applicants allege in an April 17 class complaint filed in Florida federal court (Alex Holt, et al. v. Waffle House, Inc., et al., No. 17-693, M.D. Fla.).
MIAMI - The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed suit on April 18 against the owners, operators and managers of SLS Hotel South Beach in Florida federal court on behalf of a class of black Haitian kitchen workers claiming that the defendants fired them because of their national origin, race and/or color (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. SBEEG Holdings, LLC, et al., No. 17-21446, S.D. Fla.).
TAMPA, Fla - An insured's bad faith claim is based on his insurer's alleged breach of its fiduciary duty to him and is, thus, subject to a four-year statute of limitations, a federal judge in Florida ruled April 18 in granting the insurer' motion to dismiss (Waldermar Baranowski v. GEICO General Insurance Co., No. 17-301, M.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5885).
MIAMI - A federal judge in Florida on April 17 ordered the United States to pay the parents of a child who developed brain damage following delivery $33.8 million after finding it responsible for the negligence of a doctor who was employed by a federally funded clinic (Marla Dixon, et al. v. United States of America, No. 15-23502, S.D. Fla.).
TAMPA, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on April 18 entered judgment in favor of a federal flood insurer one day after finding that the insured's failure to file a timely sworn proof of loss bars any recovery for his alleged flood damage (Jorge Abreu Sosa v. Wright National Flood Insurance Co., No. 16-1283, M.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 58066).
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - An attorney's referral of a client to a particular physician constitutes a confidential communication that is protected by attorney-client privilege, a majority in the Florida Supreme Court ruled April 13, reversing an appeals court finding that such a referral relationship is discoverable as a means of determining potential bias by the physician in a personal injury lawsuit (Heather Worley v. Central Florida Young Men's Christian Association, et al., No. SC15-1086, Fla. Sup., 2017 Fla. LEXIS 812).
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - A homeowner's construction defects lawsuit against the builder of his home was reinstated by a Florida appeals panel on April 13; the court found that the action was not barred by the 10-year statute of repose (Timothy Busch v. Lennar Homes, LLC, No. 5D16-1626, Fla. App., 5th Dist., 2017 Fla. App. LEXIS 5106).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - An expert is qualified to testify regarding a rule under Financial Regulatory Authority Inc. (FINRA), a Florida federal judge ruled April 14, denying a motion to exclude filed by a securities broker-dealer (UBS Financial Services Inc. v. Bounty Gain Enterprises Inc., No. 14-81603, S.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 57502).
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Stipulations of dispositiveness are binding in appeals from conditional no contest pleas, the Florida Supreme Court ruled April 13, allowing a man to appeal the denial of his request to exclude testimony about the results of chemical field tests under Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals Inc., 509 U.S. 579 (1993) (Roger Dennis Churchill Jr. v. State of Florida, No. SC16-654, Fla. Sup., 2017 Fla. LEXIS 829).
LAKELAND, Fla. - Recognizing that its ruling created a conflict with other appellate courts in Florida, a panel of the Second District Florida Court of Appeal on April 12 found that a trial court in an Engle progeny suit erred by reducing a compensatory award to a couple because a Florida statute governing negligence cases does not require compensatory awards to be reduced by the plaintiff's comparative fault (Philip Morris USA Inc., et al. v. Richard Boatright, et al., No. 2D15-622, Richard Boatright, et al. v. Philip Morris USA Inc., et al., No. 2D15-1781, Fla. App. 2nd Dist., 2017 Fla. App. LEXIS 5027).
TAMPA, Fla. - An insurance company that is defending itself against a class suit over its failure to provide coverage required under Florida law failed to show that the amount in controversy exceeds $5 million, a Florida federal judge ruled April 6, sending the case back to state court (Amber Rae McLawhorn, et al. v. GEICO Indemnity Company, No. 17-156, M.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 52905).
ATLANTA - The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 6 affirmed a district court's ruling that claims asserted by an entity, who alleged that agents made misrepresentations that fraudulently induced it into purchasing existing life insurance policies, were barred by a four-year statute of limitations under Florida law (The Bedtow Group II, LLC v. Martin B. Ungerleider, No. 16-10213, 11th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 5945).
MIAMI - A Florida jury on April 6 awarded the widow of a man who developed lung cancer and coronary artery disease (CAD) and died because of his addiction to cigarettes $1 million in compensatory damages (Steffany Sommers v. Philip Morris USA Inc., No. 13-2008-CA-001464-0000-01, Fla. 11th Cir. Miami-Dade Co.).
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The Florida Supreme Court on April 6 affirmed trial court's judgment in favor of an Engle progeny plaintiff after answering a certified question from a lower appellate court finding that federal law does not preempt negligence and strict liability claims because those claims do not hinder the sale of cigarettes, but go after the tobacco companies for their conspiracy to hide the dangers of smoking from the public (R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. v. Phil J. Marotta, No. SC16-218, Fla. Super., 2017 Fla. LEXIS 744).
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - A Florida appellate panel majority on April 4 found that summary judgment was properly granted to two businesses in a suit where a man tripped over an empty pallet because the pallet was an open and obvious danger and the business owners did not have a duty to clear the sidewalk where the pallets were located (Thomas Brookie v. Winn-Dixie Stores Inc., et al., No. 1D16-1285, Fla. App., 1st Dist., 2017 Fla. App. LEXIS 4538).
ORLANDO, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on March 30 found that privileged attorney communications were mistakenly submitted in response to an insurer's discovery request in an insurance bad faith lawsuit, leading the judge to affirm a magistrate's order compelling the documents' return to the plaintiff (Nadine Walker v. GEICO Indemnity Co., No. 6:15-cv-01002, M.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 47670).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida jury on March 31 found that a hospital's negligence caused a patient to fall out of her hospital bed and awarded the plaintiff a total of $909,000 in damages (Lauren Harrison v. West Boca Medical Center, No. 2016-CA-009017, 15th Jud. Cir., Palm Beach Co.).
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - After a Florida jury awarded the husband of a woman who died from lung cancer related to cigarette smoking $3 million in compensatory damages on March 28, the attorneys for the widow and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. on April 3 came to a confidential settlement over punitive damages before the jury had a chance to deliberate (James Whitmire v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. 2015-CA-002337, Fla. 2nd Jud. Cir. Leon Co.).
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - An insurer's declaratory judgment action against an insured contractor and a condominium association regarding the duty to indemnify an underlying construction defects suit is premature, a Florida federal judge ruled March 31, staying rather than dismissing the action pending the outcome of the underlying suit (Mid-Continent Casualty Co. v. Nassau Builders Inc., et al., No. 16-921, M.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 48526).