MIAMI - A Florida federal judge on Feb. 20 granted final approval to a settlement by a Florida casino to issue $15 or $30 settlement checks to fan club members to end a class complaint alleging that the casino charged excessive fees to those members who placed a winning buy bet in certain machines while playing craps (Daniel A. Brna, et al. v. Isle of Capri Casinos Inc., et al., No. 17-60144, S.D. Fla., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 26662).
DADE CITY, Fla. - A jury in Florida state court on Feb. 20 awarded a family of a deceased smoker $15 million in punitive damages in an Engle progeny suit bringing the total award to $24 million in a suit where they claimed that smoking was the cause of a man's lung cancer and death (Rosemarie Graffeo v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. 2016CA000233, Fla. Cir., 6th Jud., Pasco Co.).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A panel of Florida's Fourth District Court of Appeal on Feb. 14 affirmed a trial court's decision to allow a plaintiff's expert to testify and reinstated the full $2 million verdict in an Engle progeny suit after finding that the court erred by reducing the award based on comparative fault (Philip Morris USA Inc., et al. v. Robert A. Gore Sr., No. 4D15-3892, Fla. App., 4th Dist., 2018 Fla. App. LEXIS 2274).
MIAMI - Following the closing arguments in an Engle progeny suit on Feb. 15, a judge in Florida state court granted a tobacco company's oral motion for directed verdict in a punitive damages-only trial (Joyce Hardin v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. 07-46973-CA-22, Fla. 11th Jud. Cir. Miami-Dade Co.).
ATLANTA - Commercial general liability insurers have a duty to defend allegations that an insured improperly constructed on land without taking reasonable steps to implement a workable drainage system, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held Feb. 13, reversing and remanding the entry of summary judgment to the insurers (Mid-Continent Casualty Co., et al. v. Adams Homes of Northwest Florida Inc., et al., No. 17-12660, 11th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 3538).
LAKELAND, Fla. - A majority of the Second District Florida Court of Appeal on Feb. 14 reversed a lower court's $493,246.50 attorney fees award against an insurer in a sinkhole coverage dispute and remanded for further proceedings (Citizens Property Insurance Corporation v. Meghan Anderson, No. 2D16-616, Fla. App., 2nd Dist. 2018 Fla. App. LEXIS 2245).
MIAMI - A panel of the Third District Florida Court of Appeal on Feb. 14 found that a trial court erred in dismissing an Engle progeny suit because the 90-day period to substitute a plaintiff had been extinguished when the plaintiff's family filed a motion before an executor of the estate was named (Jerry Feller v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 3D16-2389, Fla. App., 3rd Dist., 2018 Fla. App. LEXIS 2160).
ORLANDO, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on Feb. 12 dismissed an amended class complaint by a timeshare owner alleging various breaches by Wyndham timeshare entities for being a shotgun pleading and gave the plaintiff two weeks to file an amended complaint that properly separates the claims (Tommy J. Embree v. Wyndham Worldwide Corporation, et al., No. 16-928, M.D. Fla., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 22165).
TAMPA, Fla. - Competing experts in a breach of contract lawsuit over the inspection of a company's airplane both had their proposed testimony limited Feb. 13 by a Florida federal judge (Oil Consulting Enterprise, Inc. v. Hawker Beechcraft Global Customer Support, LLC, No. 8:16-cv-3453, M.D. Fla., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 23273).
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on Feb. 8 dismissed a class complaint over credit card numbers being printed on receipts following preliminary approval of a settlement, ruling that the court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over the claims (Eric Kirchein, et al. v. Pet Supermarket, Inc., No. 16-60090, S.D. Fla., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 21750).
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The Florida Supreme Court on Feb. 9 declined to review an $18 million verdict in an Engle progeny trial in which tobacco companies argued for a new trial because of the trial court's failure to dismiss a juror for prejudice against tobacco companies (R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al. v. Andy R. Allen Sr., No. SC17-2055, Fla. Sup., 2018 Fla. LEXIS 356).
MIAMI - An insurance company has no duty to defend a general contractor accused in an underlying suit of construction defects, a federal judge in Florida ruled Feb. 7, holding that the "your work" exclusion to the policy warrants a denial of coverage (Mid-Continent Casualty Company v. JWN Construction Inc., et al., No. 17-CV-80286, S.D. Fla., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 20529).
TAMPA, Fla. - An insurer and an out-of-network health care provider engaged in a battle over what constitutes the proper reimbursement rate under Florida law and whether those claims implicate ERISA asked a federal court to dismiss the case with prejudice on Feb. 7 (Premier Inpatient Partners LLC, et al. v. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida Inc., Nos. 17-3000, 17-3001, M.D. Fla.).
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - A panel of the First District Florida Court of Appeals on Feb. 8 dismissed an Engle progeny suit because her attorneys did not have the legal authority to file and maintain a suit on behalf of a dead woman (Raymond Staines v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 1D16-2655, Fla. App., 1st Dist., 2018 Fla. App. LEXIS 1817).
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - A panel of the First District Florida Court of Appeal on Feb. 8 affirmed a lower court's decision to dismiss 73 Engle progeny suits filed by two law firms on behalf of deceased plaintiffs because "a dead person cannot file and maintain a lawsuit" (In Re 73 Engle-Related Cases, No. 1D16-2651, Fla. App., 1st Dist., 2018 Fla. App. LEXIS 1819).
MIAMI - Finding that "collapse" is not defined in an "all-risk" insurance policy, a Florida federal magistrate judge on Feb. 5 held that an insurer is obligated to cover sagging and falling down ceilings at a condominium complex (Key Biscayne Ambassador Condominium Association Inc. v. Aspen Specialty Insurance Co., No. 16-24564, S.D. Fla., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 19440).
MIAMI - A Florida jury on Feb. 6 awarded the surviving family members of a smoker who died from lung cancer $10 million in punitive damages, bringing the total amount of damages to $17.5 million (Kenneth Gloger v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 2011-CA-23377, Fla. 11th Jud. Cir. Miami-Dade Co.).
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A Florida jury on Feb. 5 awarded the family of a former smoker $27 million in punitive damages in an Engle progeny suit, bringing the total amount of damages to $40.9 million (Dawn Schlefstein v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. 2008-CV-022558, Fla. 17th Jud. Cir. Broward Co.).
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on Jan. 30 granted a default judgment in favor of the U.S. government for $10,532.47, plus continuing interest, for its reinsurance coverage of a student loan after the defendant failed to appear (United States of America v. Stephon B. Meadows, No. 17-1087, M.D. Fla., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14639).
ATLANTA - Based on an answer from Florida's high court, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 26 reversed the entry of summary judgment in favor of an insurer, vacated a final judgment and remanded to federal court for further proceedings (Altman Contractors Inc. v. Crum & Forster Specialty Insurance Co., No. 15-12816, 11th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 1957).
DELAND, Fla. - A jury in Florida on Jan. 24 found in favor of a tobacco company in an Engle progeny suit in which a woman claimed that her husband was addicted to cigarettes made by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and that his addiction was the cause of his oral cavity cancer and death (Dorothy Mae Kelsey v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. 2007 33215 CICI, Fla. 7th Jud. Cir., Volusia Co.). VIDEO FROM THE TRIAL IS AVALABLE.
TAMPA, Fla. - After a zoo and its owners failed to submit timely discovery responses in relation to allegations that they violated the Endangered Species Act (ESA), a Florida federal judge on Jan. 19 partially granted a motion filed by the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals Inc. (PETA) for sanctions (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals v. Dad City's Wild Things, No. 16-2899, M.D. Fla., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8761).
ATLANTA - The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 22 affirmed summary judgment in an Enbrel infection case, finding that Florida's learned intermediary doctrine was property applied in a summary judgment ruling and that the plaintiff failed to address a later summary judgment ruling on causation testimony (Rebecca A. Small, et al. v. Amgen, Inc., et al., No. 17-11440, 11th Cir.).