FORT MYERS, Fla. - A Florida jury in an Engle progeny case was unable to reach an agreement on whether a woman who died from lung cancer was addicted to cigarettes made by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., and the judge declared a mistrial on Nov. 1 (John Maloney v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., 07-CA-015578, Fla. 20th Jud. Cir., Lee Co.).
ORLANDO, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on Oct. 31 refused to grant injunctive relief to a property owner in relation to an attempt to enjoin several lenders from foreclosing on a property and ordered the parties to submit a joint statement as to why the court has jurisdiction over the case (Joseph E. Altier v. Suntrust Mortgage Inc., et al., No. 6:16-cv-1752, M.D. Fla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 150371).
TAMPA, Fla. - Because a disability plan administrator was not served with a claimant's motion seeking an order requiring the plan administrator to reschedule and videotape an independent medical exam (IME), a Florida federal magistrate judge on Oct. 21 denied the claimant's motion without prejudice and allowed the claimant to refile and serve the motion on the plan administrator (Alexander Stratigos v. Prudential Insurance Company of America, No. 16-2780, M.D. Fla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 146094).
FORT MYERS, Fla.- A federal judge in Florida on Oct. 24 dismissed without prejudice a primary and excess insurers' amended complaint seeking a declaration that they have no duty to defend or indemnify their cancer care service provider insured against underlying class action lawsuits stemming from a 2015 data breach, giving the insurers seven days to cure the deficiencies in their petition (The Charter Oak Fire Insurance Co., et al. v. 21st Century Oncology Investments, No. 16-00732, M.D. Fla.).
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A Florida jury on Oct. 25 awarded $20 million in punitive damages to the husband of a woman who died after developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) from smoking cigarettes made by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. in an Engle progeny trial (Alan Konzelman v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. 2008-CV-019620, Fla. Cir., 17th Jud. Cir., Broward Co.).
COLUMBUS, Ga. - A Georgia federal judge presiding over the Mentor ObTape pelvic mesh multidistrict litigation on Oct. 20 said the plaintiff presented "ample" evidence to support a jury's punitive damages finding but said there was no evidence that Mentor Corp. had specific intent under Florida law to harm the plaintiff and capped the jury's $4 million punitive damages verdict at $2 million (In Re: Mentor Corp. ObTape Transobturator Sling Products Liability Litigation, MDL Docket No. 2004, No. 08-md-2004, Teresa Taylor v. Mentor Corp., No. 12-176, D. Md.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 145290).
ATLANTA - A federal judge in Florida did not err when finding that a man who pleaded guilty for his role in an insurance fraud scheme that involved fraudulently billing private insurance companies for services that were not provided was accountable for $31 million in intended losses, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of appeals ruled Oct. 18, holding that the defendant agreed in his plea agreement that his actions resulted in losses between $20 million and $50 million (United States of America v. Alejandro Jesus Cura, No. 15-15259, 11th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 18638).
MIAMI - A Florida appeals court on Oct. 19 affirmed a judge's ruling setting aside a $10.3 million Jones Act asbestos verdict against a cruise line (Giovanna Settimi Caraffa, et al. v. Carnival Cruise Lines, No. 3D 15-356, Fla. App., 3rd Dist.).
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The Florida Supreme Court on Oct. 20 held that insureds' claim for sinkhole damage is governed by the definition of "covered claim'" in Section 631.54(3), Florida Statutes, that was effective May 17, 2011, affirming an appeals court's reversal of a lower court's order confirming a $130,600 appraisal award against the Florida Insurance Guaranty Association (FIGA) (Leandro de la Fuente, et al. v. FIGA, No. SC15-519, Fla. Sup.).
TAMPA, Fla. - A disability insurer correctly determined that a claimant was no longer eligible for long-term care disability benefits because it is clear from the evidence that the claimant no longer qualified for benefits under the policy's cognitive-impairment or functional-disability provisions, a Florida federal judge said Oct. 17 (David Carr v. John Hancock Life Insurance Co. [USA], No. 14-2867, M.D. Fla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 143050).
LAKELAND, Fla. - A Florida appeals panel on Oct. 14 granted a property insurer's motion to enforce a mandate ordering a lower court to enter final judgment in its favor in a sinkhole coverage dispute (Florida Peninsula Insurance Co. v. Maricela Cespedes, No. 2D12-4575, Fla. App., 2nd Dist.; 2016 Fla. App. LEXIS 15238).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - In a coverage dispute over water damage to an insured's kitchen, an insurer was wrongfully denied an opportunity to argue that it could repair the damaged property and that hiring a general contractor was unnecessary, a Florida appeals panel ruled Oct. 13, reversing a trial judge's entry of summary judgment to the insured (Prepared Insurance Co. v. David Gal, No. 4D15-1909, Fla. App., 4th Dist.; 2016 Fla. App. LEXIS 15181).
MIAMI - A Florida appellate panel on Oct.13 affirmed a defense verdict in an Engle progeny suit after finding that the trial judge did not err by including a question about Philip Morris USA Inc.'s fault on the verdict form over the plaintiff's objections (Jose Vila v. Philip Morris USA Inc., No. 3D15-1853, Fla. App. 3rd Dist.; 2016 Fla. App. LEXIS 15126).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Finding no error in a Florida federal judge's determination of patent ineligibility under 35 U.S. Code Section 101, the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Oct. 11 affirmed dismissal of a dispute over a fraud detection patent (FairWarning IP LLC v. Iatric Systems Inc., No. 15-1985, Fed. Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 18313).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 11 denied a petition for writ of certiorari asking it to consider whether a party that is not an Employee Retirement Income Security Act plan participant, an ERISA beneficiary or a health care provider has standing to sue an insurer under ERISA for benefits (Gables Insurance Recovery Inc., as assignee of South Miami Chiropractic LLC, v. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida Inc., No. 16-64, U.S. Sup.).
ORLANDO, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on Oct. 4 granted an insurer's motion to dismiss insureds' fraud claims in a dispute arising from roof damage caused by Hurricane Charley (Ida L. Cruz, et al. v. American Security Insurance Co., No. 16-1317, M.D. Fla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 137548).
MIAMI - Efforts by 32 models to obtain, through discovery, the membership list of a defendant "swingers" club were unsuccessful on Oct. 3, when a Florida federal magistrate judge concluded that it remains unclear whether the requested information would assist the plaintiffs in determining the amount of damages available to them on their allegation that the club violated the Lanham Act (Jaime Faith Edmondson, et al. v. Velvet Lifestyles LLC, No. 15-24442, S.D. Fla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 136866).
ORLANDO, Fla. - D.R. Horton Inc. must respond to a subcontractor's request for information regarding other lawsuits the builder has been named a party in over allegedly defective stucco, after a federal magistrate judge in Florida on Oct. 3 ruled that the information is relevant (D.R. Horton Inc. v. H&H Stucco & Stone Inc., et al., No. 15-cv-2063-Orl-40TBS, M.D. Fla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 136603).
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - A majority of the Florida Supreme Court held Sept. 29 that an appellate court misapplied a statutory presumption of correctness and incorrectly found that another statute requires a showing of bad faith for an insured to recover attorney fees, quashing and remanding the appellate court's ruling in a sinkhole coverage dispute (Kathy Johnson v. Omega Insurance Co., No. SC14-2124, Fla. Sup.; 2016 Fla. LEXIS 2148).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPMDL) on Oct. 3 granted a rare joint plaintiff-defense motion to centralize 42 federal Abilify lawsuits in a multidistrict litigation in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida (In Re: Abilify [Aripiprazole] Products Liability Litigation, MDL Docket No. 2734, JPMDL).
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on Sept. 28 granted final approval of a $6.3 million settlement to be paid by Godiva Chocolatier Inc. in a class complaint accusing the chocolate retailer of unlawfully displaying more than the last five digits on some credit and debit card receipts between April 2013 and November 2015 (Dr. David S. Muransky, et al. v. Godiva Chocolatier, Inc., No. 15-60716, S.D. Fla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 133695).