FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on May 5 granted a bank's motion to dismiss claims in a class action lawsuit alleging that the bank and insurers colluded to manipulate the force-placed insurance market and artificially inflated the amounts that mortgage borrowers were charged for policy premiums (Wilson, et al. v. EverBank, N.A., et al., No. 14-22264, S.D. Fla.).
ATLANTA - A group of firms that represent plaintiffs in litigation against the tobacco industry in Florida state court filed an amicus curiae brief with the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 4 in support of a petition urging the court to reconsider its ruling that strict liability and negligence claims asserted in Engle progeny suit are preempted by federal law (Earl E. Graham, as Personal Representative of the Estate of Faye Dale Graham v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 13-14590, 11th Cir.).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida appeals panel on May 6 reversed a lower court's denial of an insurer's motion to compel arbitration in a dispute over coverage for a $1 million judgment, remanding for an order compelling the issue of arbitrability to an arbitrator (Allied Professionals Insurance Co. v. Brian Fitzpatrick, et al., No. 4D13-3961, Fla. App., 4th Dist.; 2015 Fla. App. LEXIS 6746).
MIAMI - Comments made during closing arguments by counsel for the plaintiff in a tobacco suit were improper, but not prejudicial, the Third District Florida Court of Appeal ruled May 6, affirming a $5 million jury verdict for a man who alleged that his coronary heart disease was caused by his 40 years of smoking (Philip Morris USA Inc. v. Antonio Cuculino, Nos. 3D14-1339 and 3D14-823, Fla. App., 3rd Dist.; 2015 Fla. App. LEXIS 6696).
TAMPA, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on May 4 granted in part and denied in part motions by C.R. Bard Inc. to exclude the testimony of three plaintiff experts in an inferior vena cava (IVC) injury case (Denise Ocasio, et al. v. C.R. Bard, Inc., et al., No. 13-1962, M.D. Fla., Tampa Div.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 58163).
FORT MYERS, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on May 4 partially granted a motion for conditional certification of a class of current and former cable installers seeking unpaid wages and overtime (David Trentman, et al. v. RWL Communications, Inc., et al., No. 15-89, M.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 58153).
TAMPA, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on May 5 allowed certain claims asserted by a borrower who alleged that a mortgage company violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) by leaving automated messages on her phone in relation to the collection of mortgage debt, but dismissed her claim for violation of the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act (FCCPA) (Lisa E. Wilcox v. Green Tree Servicing LLC, No. 8:14-cv-1681, M.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 58667).
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A federal jury's finding that a smoker suffering from lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) failed to show that he was addicted to cigarettes is against the great weight of the evidence, a federal judge in Florida ruled May 4 (William Starbuck v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 3:09-CV-13250-WGY-HTS, M.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 58802).
ORLANDO, Fla. - Efforts by the operators of a virtual school to obtain dismissal of trademark infringement claims by a competing, state-run virtual school failed May 4, when a Florida federal judge rejected arguments that the State of Florida must be joined to the action as an indispensable party (Florida Virtualschool v. K12 Inc., et al., No. 11-831, M.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 58158).
BRADENTON, Fla. - A Florida state court judge declared a mistrial May 5 in a suit by the family of a smoker who died of coronary artery disease at age 45, citing the failure of the plaintiffs to inform the court that a key witness had changed his testimony part way through the trial (Madonna Dupre, et al. v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 2011CA005529, Fla. 12th Jud. Cir., Manatee Co.).
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A state court jury awarded more than $6.3 million May 1 to the family of a longtime smoker who died of lung cancer but declined to award punitive damages against defendant Philip Morris USA Inc. (Mary Brown, as Personal Representative of the Estate of Rayfield Brown, et al. v. Philip Morris USA Inc., No. 2008-CA-015000, Fla. 4th Jud. Cir., Duval Co.).
TAMPA, Fla. - A Florida woman who sued over unsolicited political calls placed to her cell phone failed to prove commonality in her motion for class certification, a Florida federal judge ruled April 27 (Lori Shamblin, et al. v. Obama for America, et al., No. 13-2428, M.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 54849).
TAMPA, Fla. - Federal pleading standards and not Florida's more strict ones apply to an asbestos action, and plaintiffs largely adequately plead negligence, strict liability and fraudulent concealment claims against safety mask and airplane parts defendants, a federal Florida judge ruled April 27 (Darryl S. Dugas and Marsha Dugas v. 3M Co., et al., No. 14-39, M.D. Fla.).
LAKELAND, Fla. - A majority of a Florida appeals court on April 24 found that a lower court erred in finding that insureds were entitled to appraisal of their claim for sinkhole damage, further concluding that the insureds' conduct in litigating their claim amounted to a waiver of the appraisal (Florida Insurance Guaranty Association Inc. v. Oscar Lustre, et al., No. 2D13-5780, Fla. App., 2nd Dist.; 2015 Fla. App. LEXIS 6026).
FORT MYERS, Fla. - Philip Morris USA Inc. is entitled to judgment as a matter of law on claims of fraudulent concealment and conspiracy brought by a longtime smoker who developed chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a federal judge ruled April 23, vacating an award of $20.76 million in punitive damages (Judith Berger v. Philip Morris USA Inc., et al., No. 3:09-cv-14157-WGY-HTS, M.D. Fla.).
MIAMI - A Florida state court jury returned a defense verdict April 23 in a suit alleging that a woman's chronic pulmonary disease (COPD) and death were caused by her more than 30 years of smoking cigarettes manufactured by Philip Morris USA Inc. and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. (Tina Russo, et al. v. Philip Morris USA Inc., et al., No. 2007-44469-CA-01, Fla. Cir., 11th Jud. Cir., Miami-Dade Co.).
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A state court jury awarded $25 million in punitive damages April 21 to a man who alleged that his chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) was caused by his 40 years of smoking cigarettes manufactured by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. (Thomas Ryan v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 2008-CV-022579, Fla. Cir., 17th Jud., Broward Co.).
TAMPA, Fla. - A nature photographer won a default judgment April 21 in Florida federal court on claims of copyright infringement (Mia McPherson v. Seaduced LLC, No. 14-2315, M.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 52374).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled April 20 that "it is simply too late" for a patent plaintiff to appeal the question of whether a Florida federal judge should have interpreted a license agreement under Quebec law (Sweepstakes Patent Company LLC v. Chase Burns, et al., No. 14-1851, Fed. Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 6429).
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - A settlement proposal rejected by the plaintiff in a medical malpractice case did not meet the requirements under Florida law for an award of attorney fees and costs to the defendant following the entry of a defense verdict, the Florida Supreme Court ruled in a split decision April 16 (Ancel Pratt Jr. v. Michael C. Weiss, D.O., et al., No. SC12-1783, Fla. Sup.).
MIAMI - FCA US Inc. LLC, formerly known as Chrysler Group LLC, filed an objection April 10 to the appointment of Paul C. Huck Jr. of Jones Day in Miami to serve as special mediator for the consolidated air bag litigation against Takata Corp. and eight auto manufacturers in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida (In re: Takata Airbag Products Liability Litigation, No. 15-02599-CIV-Moreno, MDL No. 15-2599, S.D. Fla.).