FORT MYERS, Fla. - A recent ruling upholding a $9 million punitive damages verdict in an Engle progeny case should be a factor in deciding whether an earlier order vacating an award of $20.76 million in punitive damages should be reconsidered, a Florida woman argues in a June 23 brief in a Florida federal court (Judith Berger v. Philip Morris USA Inc., et al., No. 3:09-cv-14157-WGY-HTS, M.D. Fla.).
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A Florida prison inmate who suffers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) may amend his complaint to indicate whether he alleges that his condition is linked to his 25 years of smoking and to specify the date of onset of his condition, a federal judge ruled June 22 (Benjamin Laflower v. Philip Morris USA Inc., et al., No. 3:10-227, M.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 80579).
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A $9 million punitive damages award to a woman who alleged that her 54 years of smoking caused her to develop peripheral vascular disease (PVD) that led to amputation of her legs is not excessive, a federal judge in Florida ruled June 18 (Donna Brown v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 3:09-10687, M.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 79980).
MIAMI - Breaking with federal courts in New York and California in similar litigation, a Florida federal judge on June 22 found that Flo & Eddie Inc. have no public performance rights under Florida copyright common law in The Turtles' pre-1972 sound recordings (Flo & Eddie Inc. v. Sirius XM Radio Inc., No. 13-23182, S.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 80535).
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A jury's finding that an Engle plaintiff's claims are barred by the statute of limitations is supported by the evidence, a federal judge in Florida ruled June 18 (Karen Lennox v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No 3:09-cv-13744, M.D. Fla.).
TAMPA, Fla. - A federal judge in Florida on June 18 denied a motion for summary judgment filed by a woman and the Florida Wildlife Federation, ruling that the plaintiffs must explain why the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's failure to respond to their petition seeking revisions to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection's anti-degradation water quality standards requires the federal agency to make a necessity determination or provide an adequate explanation for denying the petition (Florida Wildlife Federation v. Gina McCarthy, Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, et al., No. 14-cv-3204, M.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 79176).
MIAMI - A Florida state court jury awarded $776,000 June 18 to the widow of a man who died of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) after more than 50 years of smoking (Joyce Hardin, et al. v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 07-46973-CA-22, Fla. 11th Jud. Cir., Miami-Dade Co.).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida appeals panel on June 17 reversed and remanded a lower court's ruling as to taxable court costs in a coverage dispute over damages sustained to the insured's condominium by leaking fluids from a decomposing body (Judy Rodrigo v. State Farm Florida Ins. Co., No. 4D13-3393, Fla. App., 4th Dist.; 2015 Fla. App. LEXIS 9263).
MIAMI - A Florida appeals panel on June 17 found that a lower court erred when it compelled appraisal of an insured's supplemental Hurricane Wilma claim because the insured did not comply with his post-loss obligations under the policy, reversing and remanding (State Farm Florida Insurance Co. v. Alfredo Hernandez, No. 3D13-2263, Fla. App., 3rd Dist.; 2015 Fla. App. LEXIS 9215).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of New Jersey on June 17 announced that Norbulk Shipping UK Ltd., the operator of the M/V Murcia Carrier, was fined $750,000 for violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (APPS) by making false statements to the U.S. Coast Guard about the dumping of 20 barrels containing hydraulic oil into international waters off the coast of Florida while the vessel was in transit from Costa Rica to New Jersey.
TAMPA, Fla. - A testing exclusion precludes coverage for an insured's alleged negligence in the performance of a roof test on a condominium building, a Florida federal judge ruled June 17 (Driggers Engineering Services Inc. v. CNA Financial Corp. and Valley Forge Insurance Co., No. 14-3155, M.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 78559).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Department of Justice announced June 16 that a Florida-based skilled nursing facility, its former president and executive director and its subsidiaries have agreed to pay $17 million to resolve allegations that it violated the False Claims Act (FCA) and Anti-Kickback Statute by improperly paying doctors for their referrals of Medicare patients to the defendants' facilities (United States of America, ex. rel. Stephen M. Beaujon v. Hebrew Homes Health Network Inc., et al., No. 12-cv-20951, S.D. Fla.).
TAMPA, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on June 15 declined to exclude testimony from two experts in a breach of contract case based on alleged unreliable methodology and lack of importance, saying there is less need for her to exercise her gatekeeping function as to expert testimony for a bench trial and that the objections to the testimony can be brought up again at trial (Apple Glen Investors, L.P., v. Express Scripts, Inc., No. 8:14-cv-1527; M.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 77060).
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The federal government filed an intervener complaint in Florida federal court on June 12 in a False Claims Act (FCA) and Anti-Kickback Statute lawsuit brought against an ambulance service company accused of engaging in a 10-year scheme in which it fraudulently billed Medicare for services that were medically unnecessary (United States of America v. Liberty Ambulance Services Inc., No. 15-cv-, M.D. Fla.).
LAKELAND, Fla. - A Florida appeals panel on June 12 reversed in part a lower court's final judgment in favor of homeowners insurer in a coverage dispute over sinkhole damage (David Sanchez, et al. v. Royal Palm Insurance Co., No. 2D13-4852, Fla. App., 2nd Dist.; 2015 Fla. App. LEXIS 8991).
SARASOTA, Fla. - A state court jury returned a defense verdict June 10 in a suit alleging that a 33-year-old man's death from a pulmonary embolism stemmed from an electrical accident that occurred at a local school six years earlier (Stephanie Goberman, et al. v. The Out-of-Door Academy, No. 2011CA009250, Fla. 12th Jud. Cir., Manatee Co.).
FORT MYERS, Fla. - The chemical companies being sued by a farm trust that alleges that the companies have contaminated the trust's property with volatile organic compounds moved to dismiss the plaintiff's second amended complaint on June 9, contending that the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida should dismiss the case with prejudice because the trust has failed in a third attempt to "submit a viable pleading" (Noel D. Clark Jr., et al. v. Ashland Inc., No. 13-794, M.D. Fla.).
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - An amendment to the Florida interest-rate statute does not apply to judgments existing at the time of its passage, the plaintiff in an Engle progeny case argues in a brief filed with the state Supreme Court on June 8 (Lyantie Townsend, etc. v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. SC15-722, Fla. Sup.).
SARASOTA, Fla. - Trial got under way June 4 in the 12th Judicial Circuit Court for Manatee County, Fla., in a suit alleging that a 33-year-old man's death from a pulmonary embolism stemmed from an electrical accident that occurred at a local school six years earlier (Stephanie Goberman, et al. v. The Out-of-Door Academy, No. 2011CA009250, Fla. 12th Jud. Cir., Manatee Co.).
FORT MYERS, Fla. - A declaratory judgment defendant's counterclaim of inequitable conduct was dismissed June 5 by a Florida federal judge (Chico's Fas Inc. v. Andrea Clair et al., No. 13-792 M.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 73052).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A Florida federal judge erred denying a motion to dismiss, on standing grounds, a dispute over a prosthetic liner patent, the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled June 5 (Alps South LLC v. The Ohio Willow Wood Company, Nos. 13-1452, -1488, 14-1147, -1426, Fed. Cir.).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A notice under Florida Statutes Chapter 558 does not constitute a "civil proceeding" and is not a "suit" under an insurance policy, a Florida federal judge ruled June 4, finding that the insurer had no duty to defend or indemnify an insured regarding construction defect claims (Altman Contractors Inc. v. Crum & Forster Specialty Insurance Co., No. 13-80831, S.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 72466).