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Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Florida Court Accepts Proposal Distributing Engle Settlement Funds

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The coordinating judge in the federal Engle cases pending in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida on May 11 approved a plan for distributing $100 million in settlement funds to plaintiffs in more than 400 cases (In re Engle Cases, No. 3:09-10000, M.D. Fla.).

Mealey's Insurance - Florida Federal Judge Denies Insurer's Motion, Says Coverage May Exist

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on May 11 denied an insurer's motion for summary judgment after determining that a policy's endorsement for injuries arising from the aerial application of chemicals provides coverage for underlying claims stemming from the insured's use of an herbicide (National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, Pa. v. Florida Crystals Corp., et al., No. 14-81134, S.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 61308).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Florida Court Accepts Proposal Distributing Engle Settlement Funds

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The coordinating judge in the federal Engle cases pending in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida on May 11 approved a plan for distributing $100 million in settlement funds to plaintiffs in more than 400 cases (In re Engle Cases, No. 3:09-10000, M.D. Fla.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Judge Finds Group's Clean Water Act Suit Against Florida City Untimely

TAMPA, Fla. - An environmental group's lawsuit alleging that the City of North Port, Fla., and three state officials violated the Clean Water Act (CWA) by allowing sand, 55-gallon drums and plastic sheeting to be disposed of at Warm Mineral Springs, a 200-foot-deep pond, was found untimely May 8 by a federal judge in Florida, who ruled that the materials were put there more than five years ago (Friends of Warm Mineral Springs Inc., et al. v. Gina McCarthy, No. 13-cv-3236-T-23TGW, M.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 60601).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Florida Appeals Court Reinstates Association's Construction Defects Suit

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - A Florida appeals panel on May 8 reversed a trial court judge's ruling that a condominium association's construction defects lawsuit was barred by the state's 10-year statute of repose, finding that the statute begins to run when a contract is completed rather than when construction is finished (Cypress Fairway Condominium Association, et al. v. Bergeron Construction Co. Inc., et al., No. 5D13-4102, Fla. App., 5th Dist.; 2015 Fla. App. LEXIS 6841).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - 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 Banking & Finance - 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 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).