ORLANDO, Fla. - A defendant's allegation regarding the plaintiff's citizenship based only "upon information and belief" is insufficient for removal under the Class Action Fairness Act, a Florida federal judge ruled July 25 (Frank Ayers v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, et al., No. 17-1265, M.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 115829).
TAMPA, Fla. - A Florida jury on July 25 found in favor of Philip Morris USA Inc. after finding that a man who died from lung cancer was not addicted to cigarettes made by Philip Morris and that his lung cancer and death was not caused by an addiction to those cigarettes (Judith Pearson v. Philip Morris USA Inc., No. 2007-CA-017823, Fla. 13th Jud. Cir. Hillsborough Co.).
GREEN COVE SPRINGS, Fla. - A man filed suit in Florida state court on July 24 against the builder of his home, claiming that the company as well as the painting and stucco subcontractors it hired are liable for damage to his home caused by an improperly installed stucco system (Saulo O. Meneses v. KB Home Jacksonville LLC, No. 2017-CA-743, Fla. Cir., Clay Co.).
ORLANDO, Fla. - Pulte Home Corp. moved for summary judgment in Florida federal court on July 21, arguing that purchasers of homes with stucco that was improperly installed are not entitled to damages because they knew of the defect at the time they purchased their homes (Shaun Gazzara, et al. v. Pulte Home Corporation, No. 16-cv-657-Orl-31TBS, M.D. Fla.).
TAMPA, Fla. - A Florida woman filed a lawsuit in state court against the builder of her home on July 20, claiming that the stucco on the home was improperly applied in violation of the Florida Building Code (Tammy Marie Sullivan v. Pulte Home Corporation, No. 17-CA-006860, Fla. Cir., Hillsborough Co.).
MIAMI - An insurer's exclusion of wilderness treatment programs is not a blanket bar, but is based on the frequent failure of those facilities to meet certain general coverage criteria, and thus does not violate federal law by treating mental health coverage differently from more general treatments, a federal judge in Florida held July 20 in dismissing ERISA claims (Steven Welp, et al. v. Cigna Health and Life Insurance Co., et al., No. 17-80237, S.D. Fla.).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Fourth District of the Florida Court of Appeal panel on July 19 found that a hotel did not breach its duty to protect a couple when a drunken driver drove through a poolside cabana, injuring the man and killing his wife; the panel remanded the suit with instructions to the trial court to grant the hotel's motion for a directed verdict and vacate the $3.6 million award against it (The Las Olas Holding Company v. Michael Demella, No. 4D16-231, Fla. App., 4th Dist., 2017 Fla. App. LEXIS 10445).
FORT MYERS, Fla. - In a retrial of an Engle progeny suit, a Florida jury on July 18 found that a woman's lung cancer and death were caused by her addiction to cigarettes and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.'s failure to warn her about the dangers of smoking and awarded her husband $1.65 million (John Maloney v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., 07-CA-015578, Fla. 20th Jud. Cir., Lee Co.).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida jury on July 18 found in favor of Ford Motor Co. Inc. in a suit in which the plaintiff claimed that the automaker negligently installed an air bag with a manufacturing defect that caused a fatal car crash (Ramon Llera v. Ford Motor Co. Inc., No. 2005CA001924, Fla. 15th Jud. Cir., Palm Beach Co.).
TAMPA, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on July 17 declined to strike testimony from an insurer's biomechanical expert on the forces required to cause a woman's alleged injuries in a rear-end car accident, finding that the expert meets the admissibility standards established by 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals precedent (Lisa N. Bostick v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, No. 8:16-cv-1400, M.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 110370).
LAKELAND, Fla. - A panel of the Florida Second District Court of Appeal on July 14 affirmed a $14 million verdict in an Engle progeny suit without explanation and certified a conflict with another suit over comparative fault (R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al. v. Ina E. Ahrens, No. 2D16-1651, Fla. App., 2nd Dist., 2017 Fla. App. LEXIS 10146).
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The Florida Supreme Court agreed to decide the proper standard for admitting expert causation testimony in the state when on July 11 it accepted a case that originally resulted in an $8 million asbestos award against tobacco and gaskets companies (Richard DeLisle v. Crane Co., et al., No. SC16-2182, Fla. Sup.).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Finding that a health insurer's fraud claims related to kidney dialysis were pleaded only for its Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) plans, a Florida federal magistrate judge on July 10 denied in part a motion to compel non-ACA plan information from the dialysis provider defendants (UnitedHealthcare of Florida Inc., et al. v. American Renal Associates Holdings Inc., et al., No. 9:16-cv-81180, S.D. Fla.).
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A Florida jury on July 6 awarded a mesothelioma victim's widow $6,785,000 and found lone remaining defendant John Crane Inc. 75 percent liable for the maintenance worker's injuries (Joyce Moore, et al. v. John Crane Inc., No. 13-011729 , Fla. Cir., Broward Co.).
MIAMI - A maritime law enforcement expert cannot opine that a cruise line is to blame for the 2015 death of a passenger who got drunk and fell from the balcony in his room to the deck below, a Florida federal magistrate judge ruled July 6 in mostly granting the cruise line's request to strike the expert's testimony (Nicole Webb v. Carnival Corporation, No. 15-24230, S.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 103856).
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - A Florida appellate court erred in reversing a jury's verdict in favor of an insured in a bad faith lawsuit, because it misapplied "well-settled principles of directed verdict law" in ruling that the insurer did not act in bad faith in failing to reach a settlement with a third party that ended up resulting in an excess verdict against the insured, the insured argues in a June 29 merits brief filed in the Florida Supreme Court (James M. Harvey v. GEICO General Insurance Co., No. SC17-85, Fla. Sup.).
MIAMI - A Florida appellate panel on June 28 reversed a trial court's decision to hold a new trial against a tobacco company on a product liability claim because the jury instructions did not mislead the jury; the panel reinstated the full verdict (R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. v. Paul R. Larkin, et al., No. 3D16-910, Fla. App., 3rd Dist., 2017 Fla. App. LEXIS 9422).