ORLANDO, Fla. - A condominium association's claim of negligent supply of information was not the cause of insureds' faulty construction that resulted in water intrusion and other property damage, a Florida federal judge ruled July 20, granting summary judgment to an insurer with regard to the claim (St. Paul Fire & Marine Insurance Co. v. Cypress Fairway Condominium Association Inc., et al., No. 13-1088, M.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 94012).
ATLANTA - A Florida federal judge's adoption of a Florida federal magistrate judge's recommendation that a plaintiff be awarded $600,000 in liquidated damages, as well as attorney fees, as a sanction for a defendant's "egregious" disregard of a final consent order was affirmed July 16 by the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (Blanco GmbH + Co. KG v. Vito Antonio Laera, et al., No. 14-11814, 11th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 12265).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The plaintiff in a Engle-progeny suit that resulted in a $4 million verdict has demonstrated that she has "an objectively reasonable basis to fear that she will not receive fair review" of pending post-trial motions because of hostility between the trial judge and a member of the plaintiff's legal team, a Florida appeals panel ruled July 15 (Debra Perrotto, et al. v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 4D14-4943, Fla. App. 4th Dist.; 2015 Fla. App. LEXIS 10777).
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A Florida state court jury on July 17 awarded $9 million in punitive damages - $3 million each against R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., Philip Morris USA Inc. and Lorillard Tobacco Co. - to the widower of a woman who died of lung cancer after years of smoking (John McCoy, et al. v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 2008-CV-025806 , Fla. 17th Jud. Cir., Broward Co.).
ATLANTA - An 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on July 15 found no error in a federal judge in Florida's decision to sentence a pharmacy owner to 144 months in prison, ruling that the judge did not err when finding that the defendant's fraudulent billing of prescription medication to Medicare resulted in an intended loss of $2.5 million to the government and that the evidence supported the defendant's conviction for conspiracy to commit health care fraud (United States of America v. Guido Halayn De La Torre, No. 13-15179, 11th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 12179).
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A Florida-based compounding pharmacy has agreed to pay $8,441,107 to resolve allegations that it knowingly billed the federal government for "improper and medically unnecessary compounding pain prescriptions," the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Florida announced July 15.
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A prior settlement agreement with a third party bars strict liability and negligence claims against two tobacco companies arising from the lung cancer death of a longtime smoker, a Florida appeals court ruled July 15 (Philip Morris USA Inc., et al. v. Beatrice Skolnick, No. 4D13-4696, Fla. App., 4th Dist.).
FORT MYERS, Fla. - The farm trust that alleges that a group of chemical companies contaminated the trust's property with volatile organic compounds filed a brief on July 13 in Florida federal court, arguing that the claims against two defendants who are employees of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) are valid because they are being sued for acts allegedly committed outside their official employment responsibilities with the FDEP (Noel D. Clark Jr., et al. v. Ashland Inc., No. 13-794, M.D. Fla.).
MIAMI - A Florida state court jury on July 13 awarded $8.5 million to the family of a woman who died of oral cancer after years of smoking cigarettes manufactured by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. (Paul Larkin, et al. v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. 2002-002829-CA, Fla. 11th Jud. Cir., Miami-Dade Co.).
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A Florida state court jury on July 13 awarded $1.5 million to the widower of a woman who died of lung cancer after years of smoking (John McCoy, et al. v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 2008-CV-025806 (19), Fla. 17th Jud. Cir., Broward Co.).
MIAMI - A Florida federal judge on July 10 granted a motion to compel claims asserted by an onboard medical officer who was allegedly injured while working on a cruise ship, finding the claims subject to an arbitration agreement in her employment contract (Brenda K. Ringewald v. Holland America Line - USA Inc., et al., No. 1:15-cv-20254, S.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 89758).
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A Florida federal judge held on July 7 that an insured has failed to demonstrate that a "covered cause of loss" damaged the walls or roof of its motel property permitting the wind-driven rain of Tropical Storm Debby to intrude, concluding that the exception to the policy's water intrusion limitation does not apply (Divine Motel Group LLL d/b/a Royal Inn v. Rockhill Insurance Co., No. 14-31, M.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 87789).
TAMPA, Fla. - No coverage is afforded for an underlying suit alleging that an insured real estate agent failed to disclose that the ground upon which a home was built once served as a neighborhood dumping pit because the nondisclosure did not cause the property damage and the policies' pollution exclusions bar coverage, a Florida federal judge said July 6 (Southern-Owners Insurance Co., et al. v. Yvonne Herrera, et al., No. 13-2887, M.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 87420).
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Allegations that the operators of several gossip websites infringed upon the copyrights of a photo supplier were resolved in favor of the defendants July 6 by a Florida federal judge (BWP Media USA Inc. v. South Florida Chronicle Inc. and Print Killer Media Network LLC, No. 13-61976, S.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 87197).
ATLANTA - Handwriting and fingerprint experts for the U.S. government in a tax fraud and identity theft case against a Florida man were qualified, used scientifically reliable methodology and provided testimony that was helpful to the jury, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals found July 2 in affirming the man's conviction (United States of America v. Lee Ervin Dale, No. 14-10733, 11th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 11433).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on July 2 found that a homeowner properly pleaded his claims for violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act (FCCPA), refusing to grant a motion to dismiss the case filed by a lender and loan servicer (Roberto Jhon Manrique v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., et al., No. 15-80057, S.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 86446).
FORT MYERS, Fla. - A group of chemical companies being sued by a farm trust that alleges that the companies have contaminated the trust's property with volatile organic compounds on July 1 filed a brief in Florida federal court arguing that the plaintiffs' second amended complaint should be dismissed for failure to state a claim pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure (FRCP) 12(b)(6) (Noel D. Clark Jr., et al. v. Ashland Inc., No. 13-794, M.D. Fla.).
FORT MYERS, Fla. - An insured owes deductible payments in the amount of $305,000 to its insurer for the resolution of Chinese drywall claims made in a multidistrict litigation, a Florida federal judge held July 1 (Mid-Continent Casualty Co. v. Hansen Homes of South Florida Inc., No. 14-35, M.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 85760).
NEW ORLEANS - BP Exploration & Production Inc. will pay $18.7 billion over the course of 18 years to resolve Clean Water Act (CWA) and natural resource damages claims from the federal government and states of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas stemming from the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico that followed the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, the company announced today (In re: Oil Spill by the Oil Rig "Deepwater Horizon" in the Gulf of Mexico, April 20, 2010, MDL No. 2179, E.D. La.)
ORLANDO, Fla. - A genuine dispute exists over whether a subcontractor caused any delays in a construction project, a Florida magistrate judge found June 26, denying summary judgment to a contractor and its surety (The Davis Group Inc. v. Ace Electric Inc. and The Hartford Casualty Insurance Co., No. 14-251, M.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 83368).
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - A trial court erred in ordering a hospital to produce confidential contracts between it and 37 health insurers, a Florida appeals panel ruled June 22, finding that the scope of the law under which the order was issued did not extend to such documents (Shands Jacksonville Medical Center Inc. v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., No. 1D14-2001, Fla. App., 1st Dist.).