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).
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).
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A Florida jury on Sept. 28 awarded the estate of a man who died from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) $6.4 million after finding that R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.'s role in a conspiracy among tobacco companies to hide the dangers of smoking led to the man's disease and death (Linda Prentice v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. 2008-CA-000386, Fla. 4th Jud. Cir. Duval Co.).
MIAMI - A federal judge in Florida on Sept. 22 dismissed a handful of claims in a consolidated complaint against Toyota, partially granting and partially denying the automaker's motion to dismiss the second amended complaint in the Takata air bag multidistrict litigation but keeping the majority of the claims for trial (In re: Takata Airbag Products Liability Litigation, No. 15-02599-CIV-Moreno, MDL No. 5-2599, S.D. Fla.).
CLEVELAND - An Ohio federal judge on Sept. 21 issued a summary judgment ruling that leaves for a January jury trial the question of whether a Florida plaintiffs law firm breached its contract with an Ohio plaintiffs' law firm and owes it $1.3 million in referral fees for Prempro (hormone replacement therapy, or HRT) cases (Misny & Associates Co. v. Aylstock, Witkin, Kreis & Overholtz, No. 15-681, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Div.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 129239).
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - After rejecting an expert's testimony that every exposure to asbestos substantially contributes to developing mesothelioma, a Florida appeals court on Sept. 14 granted a directed verdict to a gasket company and ordered a new trial for a tobacco company (Crane Co., R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., and Hollingsworth & Vose Co. v. Richard DeLisle and Aline DeLisle, Nos. 4D13-4351, 4D14-146, Fla. App., 4th Dist.).
MIAMI - A contractual dispute was dismissed Sept. 12 by a Florida federal judge, who found that a plaintiff's allegations of trademark infringement - the only alleged basis for federal jurisdiction - fail to state a claim pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) (Mainstream Advertising Inc. v. Moniker Online Services LLC, No. 16-61316, S.D. Fla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 123132).
ORLANDO, Fla. - While Florida recognizes that an insured's defective work on a condominium complex gives rise to an "occurrence" caused by "property damage" under a commercial general liability insurance policy, a Florida federal judge ruled Sept. 13 that the "your work" exclusion extinguishes the insurer's duty to defend and indemnify (Evanston Insurance Co. v. DiMucci Development Corporation of Ponce Inlet Inc. and Towers Grande Condominium Association, No. 15-486, M.D. Fla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 123678).
ORLANDO, Fla. - A federal judge in Florida on Sept. 8 dismissed a class action suit against Pulte Home Corp. accusing the company of building homes with defective stucco siding, ruling that the negligence claim is barred by the economic loss doctrine and that the state does not recognize a cause of action for a builder's alleged intentional installation of defective stucco (Shaun Parker Gazzara, et al. v. Pulte Home Corporation, No. 16-cv-657-Orl-31TBS, M.D. Fla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 121348).
MIAMI - A Florida appeals panel held Sept. 7 that a commercial insurance policy's "entrustment" exclusion applies to a third-party's actions as an insured's tenant and precludes coverage for the insured's theft and vandalism loss, rejecting the insured's argument that the exclusion is ambiguous (Grover Commercial Enterprises, Inc., etc. v. Aspen Insurance UK, Ltd., et al., No. 3D14-1987, Fla. App., 3rd Cir.).
ASHLAND, Ky. - An insurer is entitled to judgment as a matter of law in an insurance breach of contract and bad faith lawsuit because insureds failed to show that the insurer breached the terms of a homeowners insurance policy by failing to pay on claims within 30 days of receiving the proof of loss, a federal judge in Kentucky ruled Sept. 7 (Billie W. Hamm v. American Bankers Insurance Co. of Florida, No. 14-39, E.D. Ky.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 120567).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - An appellate panel in Florida on Sept. 7 affirmed a trial court's decision to grant a new trial to two tobacco companies in an Engle progeny suit because the plaintiff's lawyer made prejudicial statements to the jury in closing arguments (David Cohen v. Philip Morris USA Inc., et al., No. 4D13-2681, Fla. App. 4th Dist.).
MIAMI - A Florida federal judge on Sept. 2 granted defendants' motion to stay discovery pending resolution of their motions to dismiss an amended class action complaint alleging that they participated in a fraudulent scheme that overcharged borrowers for lender-placed insurance (LPI) (Jeffrey Parker, et al. v. AHMSI Insurance Agency Inc. d/b/a Belt Line Insurance Agency, et al., No. 15-23840, S.D. Fla.).
ORLANDO, Fla. - A federal magistrate judge in Florida on Sept. 6 quashed in part subpoenas served by plaintiffs who claim that homes built by Pulte Home Corp. were built with a defective stucco system on the defendant company's experts, ruling that information concerning destructive testing the experts conducted on certain homes was not subject to the exceptional circumstances exception to the work product doctrine (Shaun Parker Gazzara, et al. v. Pulte Home Corporation, No. 16-cv-657-Orl-31TBS, M.D. Fla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 119867).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida jury on Sept. 6 found in favor of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. in an Engle progeny case in which a man claimed that his chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) was caused by smoking cigarettes made by the tobacco company (John Hackimer, et al. v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. 2014-CA-010849, Fla. Jud. Cir. 15th, Palm Beach Co.).
ORLANDO, Fla. - After finding that borrowers attempted to rescind their mortgage five years too late under the Truth in Lending Act (TILA), a Florida federal judge on Sept. 1 granted three motions to dismiss their claim for rescission under TILA and other claims related to their mortgage (Charles E. Woide, et al. v. Federal National Mortgage Association, et al., No. 6:15-cv-1929, M.D. Fla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 118073).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Following the Florida Supreme Court decision in Hess v. Philip Morris USA, Inc. (175 So. 3d 687, 698 [Fla. 2015]) that held that defendants in Engle progeny suits may not rely on the Florida statute of repose as a defense, a Florida appellate panel on Aug. 31 reinstated $5 million in punitive damages to the family of a woman who died from lung cancer caused by smoking cigarettes (Philip Morris USA Inc., et al. v. Sharon Putney, Nos. 4D10-3606, 4D10-5244, Fla. App., 4th Dist.; 2016 Fla. App. LEXIS 13217).