LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
Mealey's Insurance - Judge Dismisses Claims Against Bank In Suit Over Force-Placed Insurance Practices

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.).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Plaintiff Firms Ask 11th Circuit To Reconsider Ruling On Engle Claim Preemption

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.).

Mealey's Insurance - Florida Panel Reverses Ruling That Denied Insurer's Motion To Compel Arbitration

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).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Statements By Plaintiff's Counsel Not Prejudicial, Florida Appeals Panel Rules

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).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Plaintiff Experts Limited In Bard IVC Filter Case

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).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Partial Conditional Certification Granted In Cable Installer Wage Suit

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).

Mealey's Banking & Finance - Judge Allows TCPA Claims Against Mortgage Company To Proceed

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).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Finding Of No Addiction Contrary To Evidence, Florida Federal Judge Rules

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).

Mealey's IP/Tech - Florida Federal Judge Denies Dismissal In Trademark Case

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).

Mealey's Labor & Employment - Partial Conditional Certification Granted In Cable Installer Wage Suit

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).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Plaintiff Experts Limited In Bard IVC Filter Case

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).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Florida Judge Enters Mistrial In Engle Suit After Witness Changes Testimony On Stand

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.).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Florida Jury Awards $6.3M To Family Of Smoker Who Died Of Lung Cancer

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.).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Florida Federal Judge Denies Class Certification In Auto-Dialed Political Call Suit

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).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Judge Leaves Case Largely Intact After Rejecting Florida's Pleading Standard

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.).

Mealey's Labor & Employment - Judge Leaves Case Largely Intact After Rejecting Florida's Pleading Standard

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.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge Leaves Case Largely Intact After Rejecting Florida's Pleading Standard

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.).

Mealey's Insurance - Florida Majority Reverses, Certifies Questions In Sinkhole Appraisal Dispute

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).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Florida Federal Judge Vacates $20.7 Million Punitive Verdict For Smoker With COPD

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.).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Florida Jury Returns Verdict For Reynolds, Philip Morris In COPD Suit

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.).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Florida Jury Awards $46.5 Million To Longtime Smoker With COPD

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.).

Mealey's IP/Tech - Florida Federal Judge Grants Injunction, Damages In Copyright Case

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).

Mealey's IP/Tech - Federal Circuit Affirms Dismissal Of Patent Case On Standing Grounds

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).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Florida High Court: Defendants Not Entitled To Fees In Medical Malpractice Case

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.).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Chrysler Tells Air Bag MDL Special Mediator Appointee Has Conflict Of Interest

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.).