LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
Mealey's Insurance - Florida Panel Affirms Court's Refusal To Conduct New Appraisal In Wilma Suit

MIAMI - A Florida appeals panel on March 22 held that an insured's post-appraisal submission of increased costs in a Hurricane Wilma coverage dispute is not a legally sufficient basis to reopen the existing appraisal or conduct a new appraisal (Orlando Noa v. Florida Insurance Guaranty Association, No. 3D16-1367, Fla. App., 3rd Dist., 2017 Fla. App. LEXIS 3787).

Mealey's IP/Tech - Insurer's Data Satisfies Florida's Definition Of Trade Secret, Majority Affirms

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - A majority of a Florida appeals court on March 20 affirmed a lower court's ruling that an insurer's quarterly supplemental reporting (QUASR) data satisfies the definition of trade secret under state law and is, therefore, exempt from public disclosure (Office of Insurance Regulation v. State Farm Florida Ins. Co., No. 1D16-2301, Fla. App., 1st Dist., 2017 Fla. App. LEXIS 3662).

Mealey's Insurance - Insurer's Data Satisfies Florida's Definition Of Trade Secret, Majority Affirms

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - A majority of a Florida appeals court on March 20 affirmed a lower court's ruling that an insurer's quarterly supplemental reporting (QUASR) data satisfies the definition of trade secret under state law and is, therefore, exempt from public disclosure (Office of Insurance Regulation v. State Farm Florida Ins. Co., No. 1D16-2301, Fla. App., 1st Dist., 2017 Fla. App. LEXIS 3662).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Couple Can Amend Fraud, Building Code Violation Allegations, Judge Rules

TAMPA, Fla. - A couple claiming that the defective construction of their home allowed for water infiltration and mold growth that led to the death of their daughter can amend their allegations that the home builder violated the Florida Building Code and engaged in fraud, a federal judge in Florida ruled March 17 in granting in part the builder's motion to dismiss (Rohan B. Goldson, et al. v. KB Home, et al., No. 17-cv-340-T-24 AEP, M.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 38426).

Mealey's Labor & Employment - Judge Compels Arbitration Of Chef's Injury-Related Claims Against Ship Owner

MIAMI - A Florida federal judge on March 13 compelled arbitration of a sous chef's injury-related claims against the owner of a ship, finding that they directly related to an underlying mandatory arbitration provision in her employment contract but remanded her claims against another vessel owner to a state court for lack of jurisdiction (Linnea Wexler v. Solemates Marine Ltd., et al., No. 16-cv-62704, S.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 36376).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Judge Compels Arbitration Of Chef's Injury-Related Claims Against Ship Owner

MIAMI - A Florida federal judge on March 13 compelled arbitration of a sous chef's injury-related claims against the owner of a ship, finding that they directly related to an underlying mandatory arbitration provision in her employment contract but remanded her claims against another vessel owner to a state court for lack of jurisdiction (Linnea Wexler v. Solemates Marine Ltd., et al., No. 16-cv-62704, S.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 36376).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Former Florida Felons Sue To Restore Voting Rights

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Seven former felons filed a class complaint on March 13 in Florida federal court against the Florida governor and members of the Executive Clemency Board, alleging that the state's disenfranchisement and re-enfranchisement laws "have made the process of voting rights restoration unconstitutionally arbitrary" (James Michael Hand, et al. v. Rick Scott, et al., No. 17-128, N.D. Fla.).

Mealey's Insurance - Florida Federal Magistrate Judge Abates Bad Faith Claim, Says Claim Is Premature

MIAMI - A Florida federal magistrate judge on March 13 abated a plaintiff's bad faith claim on the basis that the bad faith claim is premature and cannot be adjudicated until after there has been a determination that the insurer breached its contract of insurance (Southeast Distributors Inc. v. United Specialty Insurance Co., No. 16-24549, S.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 35453).

Mealey's IP/Tech - Buzzfeed Seeks Dismissal Of Defamation Suit Over Russian Hacking Article

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - In a March 14 motion in Florida federal court, New York media firm Buzzfeed Inc. seeks dismissal of a defamation lawsuit over its January online publication of an article over purported Russian attempts to hack the Democratic National Committee (DNC), asserting a lack of jurisdiction because the dispute "has nothing to do with Florida" (Aleksej Gubarev, et al. v. Buzzfeed Inc., et al., No. 0:17-cv-60426, S.D. Fla.).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge: Breach Of Contract Suit Against Professional Liability Insurer Is Timely

TAMPA, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on March 13 rejected a professional liability insurer's argument that a breach of contract lawsuit brought by the insured's assignees is barred by a five-year statute of limitations, denying the insurer's motion to dismiss (Mark Chapman, et al. v. ACE American Insurance Co., No: 16-2111, M.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 35347).

Mealey's Insurance - Other Insurer's Claims Handling Not Relevant In Bad Faith Suit, Judge Rules

TAMPA, Fla. - Reconsideration of a federal district court's ruling to grant an insurer a new trial in an insurance bad faith lawsuit is not warranted because an insured's reference to another insurer's claims handling for a bodily injury claim was not relevant and not properly considered by a jury, a federal judge in Florida ruled March 13 in denying the insured's motion for reconsideration (Joshua Moore v. GEICO General Insurance Co., No. 13-1569, M.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 35136).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge Finds Grocery Properly Joined In Asbestos-Talc Case

MIAMI - A retail grocery was not fraudulently joined in an asbestos case because allegations regarding what it should have known sufficiently support a negligence action, a federal judge in Florida held in remanding the case on March 10 (Andrienne Fransas v. Brenntag North America Inc., et al., No. 17-80058, S.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 35545).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Stucco Remediation Expert's Methodology Not Reliable, Relevant, Judge Rules

ORLANDO, Fla. - A stucco remediation expert's methodology for calculating the cost to repair homes made by Pulte Home Corp. that have improperly installed stucco is not reliable or relevant, a federal judge in Florida ruled March 10 in granting the builder's motion to exclude the testimony (Shaun Gazzara, et al. v. Pulte Home Corporation, No. 16-cv-657-Orl-31TBS, M.D. Fla.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Engle Progeny Plaintiff Moves For Extension To File For Rehearing

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A plaintiff in an Engle progeny suit on March 8 moved for an extension of time to file a motion for a rehearing, certification, or a written opinion following an order from the Florida Fourth District Court of Appeal that affirmed a defense verdict in a tobacco trial, according the online docket (Dorothy Haliburton v. R.J. Reynolds, No. 4D15-1819, Fla. App. 4th Dist.).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Florida High Court Rejects Daubert Issue But Vacates Death Sentence On Other Law

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Although the Florida Supreme Court on March 9 rejected a convicted man's argument that his death sentence is unconstitutionally arbitrary as a result of the Florida Legislature's adoption of the standard in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals Inc., it vacated the death sentence based on other case law and remanded for a new penalty phase (Charles L. Anderson v. State of Florida, No. SC12-1252, Charles L. Anderson v. Julie L. Jones, et al., No. SC14-881, Fla. Sup.; 2017 Fla. LEXIS 508).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Stucco Remediation Expert's Methodology Not Reliable, Relevant, Judge Rules

ORLANDO, Fla. - A stucco remediation expert's methodology for calculating the cost to repair homes made by Pulte Home Corp. that have improperly installed stucco is not reliable or relevant, a federal judge in Florida ruled March 10 in granting the builder's motion to exclude the testimony (Shaun Gazzara, et al. v. Pulte Home Corporation, No. 16-cv-657-Orl-31TBS, M.D. Fla.).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Florida Statute Of Repose May Not Apply To Surgical Mesh Case, Judge Says

TAMPA, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on March 7 denied a motion to dismiss a surgical mesh case, saying that at this stage of the case, Florida's 12-year statute of repose may not apply to the plaintiff's claim (Judith Woodbury v. C.R. Bard, Inc., No. 16-3229, M.D. Fla., Tampa Div., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 31777).

Mealey's Insurance - Insureds' Intent To Defraud A Matter For Jury To Decide, Judge Rules

DETROIT - A jury should determine if an insured couple intended to defraud their insurance company when stating that they had decided to not move to Florida from Michigan to maintain coverage on their vehicle, a federal judge in Michigan ruled March 6 in denying IDS Property Casualty Insurance Co.'s motion for summary judgment (IDS Property Casualty Insurance Company v. David P. Kaisch, et al., No. 15-11566, E.D. Mich., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 31931).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Judge Excludes Causation Testimony From Homeowners' Expert On Stucco Installation

ORLANDO, Fla. - A civil engineer's education, experience and expertise in stucco installation was not enough to show that his testimony in support of a proposed class action filed by homeowners against Pulte Home Corp. satisfied the requirements of Daubert v. Merrill Dow Pharmaceuticals, 509 U.S. 579 (1993), a federal judge in Florida ruled March 3 in granting the home builder's motion to exclude (Shaun Gazzara, et al. v. Pulte Home Corporation, No. 16-cv-657-Orl-31TBS, M.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 30251).

Mealey's Insurance - Federal Judge Dismisses Excess Insurer's Coverage Case Based Upon Article 3

ORLANDO, Fla. - An excess insurer's claims regarding its duty to defend and indemnify an insured against claims of negligent construction in a condominium project do not satisfy the case and controversy requirement of Article III, Section 2, of the U.S. Constitution, a Florida federal judge ruled March 2, dismissing the case (Interstate Fire & Casualty Co. v. McMurry Construction Company Inc., et al., No. 16-841, M.D. Fla.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 29501).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge Dismisses Insured's Declaratory Relief Claim In Water Damage Dispute

MIAMI - Dismissing an insured's request for declaratory relief on coverage for water damage to its property, a Florida federal judge held March 1 that the insured "failed to plead facts necessary to establish any dispute or doubt under the insurance policy" and "failed to allege ambiguity" with regard to a loss settlement provision (Espadon Group Inc. v. Lexington Insurance Co., No. 16-24413, S.D. Fla.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 29918).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge Excludes Causation Testimony From Homeowners' Expert On Stucco Installation

ORLANDO, Fla. - A civil engineer's education, experience and expertise in stucco installation was not enough to show that his testimony in support of a proposed class action filed by homeowners against Pulte Home Corp. satisfied the requirements of Daubert v. Merrill Dow Pharmaceuticals, 509 U.S. 579 (1993), a federal judge in Florida ruled March 3 in granting the home builder's motion to exclude (Shaun Gazzara, et al. v. Pulte Home Corporation, No. 16-cv-657-Orl-31TBS, M.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 30251).

Mealey's Banking & Finance - Federal Judge Dismisses Borrower's Complaint For Lack Of Sufficient Clarity

TAMPA, Fla. - After finding that a complaint filed by borrowers in relation to the foreclosure of their property lacked claims with sufficient clarity, a Florida federal judge on Feb. 28 dismissed the complaint as a "shotgun pleading" (Lilia Mesa, et al. v. Kajaine Fund III, LLC, et al., No. 8:17-cv-450, M.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 27743).

Mealey's Health Law - Home Health Agency Administrator Sentenced To 126 Months For Fraud

MIAMI - An administrator of a home health agency was sentenced to 126 months in prison by a federal judge in Florida on Feb. 24, after the defendant was found guilty for his role in a $2.5 million Medicare fraud scheme (United States of America v. Raciel Leon, et al., No. 16cr20476, S.D. Fla.).

Mealey's Insurance - Home Health Agency Administrator Sentenced To 126 Months For Fraud

MIAMI - An administrator of a home health agency was sentenced to 126 months in prison by a federal judge in Florida on Feb. 24, after the defendant was found guilty for his role in a $2.5 million Medicare fraud scheme (United States of America v. Raciel Leon, et al., No. 16cr20476, S.D. Fla.).