LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
Mealey's IP/Tech - Florida Federal Judge Denies Dismissal In Trademark Dispute Over 'Genesis'

TAMPA, Fla. - A plaintiff's amended complaint, filed two weeks after an original complaint was stricken as an impermissible "shotgun pleading," asserts a claim for trademark infringement sufficient to withstand a defendant's motion to dismiss, a Florida federal magistrate judge ruled Dec. 14 (JavaGenesis Coffee Roasting LLC v. OpenGateFarmFL LLC, No. 15-324, M.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 166857).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Jury Awards Former Smoker $11 Million In Tobacco Suit

QUINCY, Fla. - A Florida jury on Dec. 9 awarded a woman $11 million after determining that her laryngeal cancer was caused by smoking cigarettes produced and sold by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., not by her human papillomavirus (HPV) infection (Florence Monroe v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, No. 2013CA-001121, Fla. 2nd Cir., Gadsden Co.).

Mealey's Insurance - Florida Panel Reverses Ruling Against Insurer In Hurricane Jeanne Coverage Dispute

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida appeals panel on Dec. 9 reversed a lower court's final judgment for "additional living expenses" against an insurer in a Hurricane Jeanne coverage dispute, finding that a hurricane coverage endorsement applied to the insureds' losses (State Farm Florida Insurance Co. v. Richard Moody, et al., Nos. 4D13-3377, 4D14-273 and 4D14-274, Fla. App., 4th Dist.; 2015 Fla. App. LEXIS 18405).

Mealey's Insurance - Insurer Had No Duty To Defend Additional Insured's Faulty Work, Judge Holds

ORLANDO, Fla. - Allegations of an additional insured's faulty work to a roof do not constitute an "occurrence," a Florida federal judge ruled Dec. 7, finding that a commercial general liability insurer had no duty to defend or indemnify (Core Construction Services Southeast, Inc. v. Crum & Forster Specialty Insurance Co., No. 14-1790, M.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 163695).

Mealey's Labor & Employment - Claims Were Properly Dismissed; ERISA Preemption Applies, 11th Circuit Says

ATLANTA - A district court did not err in determining that claims alleged against a health insurer are completely preempted by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said Dec. 1 in affirming the district court's dismissal of the suit (Gables Insurance Recovery Inc., as assignee of South Miami Chiropractic LLC, v. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida Inc., No. 15-10459, 11th Cir.; 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 20789).

Mealey's Bankruptcy - Federal Judge Affirms Order Requiring Debtors To Surrender Property

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on Nov. 23 affirmed a bankruptcy court's decision in favor of a bank, ordering the debtors to surrender the property pursuant to a statement of intention (David A. Failla, et al. v. Citibank N.A., et al., No. 15-80328, S.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 157832).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Federal Judge Affirms Order Requiring Debtors To Surrender Property

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on Nov. 23 affirmed a bankruptcy court's decision in favor of a bank, ordering the debtors to surrender the property pursuant to a statement of intention (David A. Failla, et al. v. Citibank N.A., et al., No. 15-80328, S.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 157832).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Jury: Tobacco Company Not Liable To Former Smoker For $1.9 Million

MIAMI - A jury in Florida on Nov. 24 ruled that a woman who formerly smoked cigarettes did not have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and, therefore, was not entitled to damages from R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. (RJR), which she had contended "manipulated our culture with propaganda" to get people to smoke (Cynthia Green v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, No. 2007-CA-046326, Fla. Cir., 11th Jud. Cir.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Jury Finds Cigarette Addiction Did Not Cause Plaintiff's Diseases

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla., - A Florida jury on Nov. 23 ruled in favor of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., Phillip Morris Tobacco Co. and Liggett Group Inc., determining that the diseases suffered by a 94-year-old man who had sued them were not caused by his addiction to cigarettes (Robert Shulman v. R.J. Reynolds, et al., No. 502007CA023832, Fla. Cir., 15th Jud. Cir.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Florida Jury Rules Tobacco Company Not Liable For Smoker's Death

PALM BEACH, Fla. - A jury in Florida on Nov. 20 determined that R.J. Reynolds was not liable for the death of a man whose widow had sought $10 million in damages based on her allegations that her husband died from coronary artery disease caused by an addiction to smoking cigarettes (Ann Cavalier v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, No. 2007-CA-023832, Fla. Cir., 15th Jud. Cir.).

Mealey's Insurance - Panel: Fact Issues As To Filing Of Breach Of Contract Suit Requires Reversal

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida appeals panel held Nov. 18 that there are genuine issues of material fact regarding whether an insured was forced to file a breach of contract lawsuit against its insurer, reversing and remanding a lower court's ruling in a Hurricane Wilma coverage dispute (State Farm Florida Insurance Co. v. Lime Bay Condominium, Inc., No. 4D13-4802, Fla. App., 4th Dist.; 2015 Fla. App. LEXIS 17313).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Law Firm: Plaintiff Opted Out of Engle, Malpractice Claims Fail

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Allegations of legal malpractice by the daughter of a smoker who failed to join the class of plaintiffs in Engle v. Liggett Grp. Inc. (945 So. 2d 1246 [Fla. 2006]) should be dismissed as untimely pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), a law firm and several of its attorneys argued Nov. 12 in a Florida federal court (Shirley Spooner v. Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein LLP et al., No. 15-1330, M.D. Fla.).

Mealey's Banking & Finance - Amended Default Judgment Would Adversely Affect Insurer's Rights, Panel Rules

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - A Florida appeals panel on Nov. 13 found that an insurer has nonparty standing to move to vacate the amended default judgment against its title insurance company insured, and the lower court lacked subject matter jurisdiction when it amended the judgment, vacating the amended default final judgment in a dispute over misappropriated real estate deposits (Gotham Insurance Co. v. Andrew Matthew, et al., No. 5D13-3008, Fla. App., 5th Dist.; 2015 Fla. App. LEXIS 17004).

Mealey's Insurance - Amended Default Judgment Would Adversely Affect Insurer's Rights, Panel Rules

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - A Florida appeals panel on Nov. 13 found that an insurer has nonparty standing to move to vacate the amended default judgment against its title insurance company insured, and the lower court lacked subject matter jurisdiction when it amended the judgment, vacating the amended default final judgment in a dispute over misappropriated real estate deposits (Gotham Insurance Co. v. Andrew Matthew, et al., No. 5D13-3008, Fla. App., 5th Dist.; 2015 Fla. App. LEXIS 17004).

Mealey's Insurance - Insurer Had No Duty To Defend, Indemnify Defects Dispute, Federal Judge Says

OCALA, Fla. - A contractor was not an additional insured for purposes of coverage for an underlying construction defects case, a Florida federal judge ruled Nov. 10, also finding that the insurer had no duty to defend or indemnify because there was no alleged "property damage" (Joseph Bradfield and Patricia Bradfield v. Mid-Continent Casualty Co., No. 13-222, M.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 152297).

Mealey's Insurance - State Farm Awarded Summary Judgment In Suit Over Fraudulent X-Ray Bills

MIAMI - A federal judge in Florida on Nov. 9 granted State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co.'s motion for summary judgment in a suit it brought against a medical diagnostic services firm, two of its medical directors and two of its X-ray technicians and ordered the defendants to pay $1.4 million to the company, after finding that bills the defendants submitted to the insurer were noncompensable and unlawful (State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, et al. v. B&A Diagnostic Inc., n/k/a Oasis Medical Center Corp., et al., No. 14-cv-24387-KMM, S.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 151743).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge: Evidence Provided At Trial Was Sufficient To Show Insurer's Bad Faith

TAMPA, Fla. - A federal judge in Florida on Nov. 5 ruled that an insurer is not entitled to judgment as a matter of law or a new trial in an insurance bad faith lawsuit, ruling that, among other things, the evidence provided at trial was sufficient under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 50 (Eddie K. Taylor v. GEICO Indemnity Co., No. 12-2448, M.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 150402).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Magistrate Judge Allows FDIC's Expert To Testify On Breach Of Closing Letters

ORLANDO, Fla. - An expert offered by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. can testify in its lawsuit on the allegations that a title company breached its duty by failing to comply with closing instructions in connection with two residential loan transactions, a Florida federal magistrate judge ruled Nov. 4 (Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. v. Attorneys Title Insurance Fund, Inc., No. 14-1105, M.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 149751).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Jury Ignores Instructions, Awards $650,000 To Smoker's Family For Cancer, Death

PENSACOLA, Fla. - A jury in Florida on Nov. 5 awarded the members of a family $650,000 in damages against Philip Morris USA Inc. for the lung cancer death of their husband and father as a result of his addiction to nicotine in cigarettes, ignoring jury instructions that called for an award of $2.3 million. The award included $325,000 equally for compensatory damages and punitive damages (Micah Danielson v. Philip Morris USA Inc., No. 2007-CA-002737, Fla. Cir., 1st Jud. Cir.).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge Says Insurer Owes No Repair Costs For Undamaged Parts In Water Damage Claim

MIAMI - An insurer owes no coverage for costs to replace undamaged components on floors and undamaged carpeting of a condominium building that suffered water damage from a broken valve, a Florida federal judge ruled Nov. 5, granting in part summary judgment to the insurer (Great American Insurance Company of New York v. The Towers of Quayside No. 4 Condominium Association, No. 15-20056, S.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 150358).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Federal Judge Grants Summary Judgment In Slip-And-Fall Case

MIAMI - A federal judge in Florida on Oct. 30 granted summary judgment to a department store in a negligence case brought against it by a woman who allegedly slipped on a baby wipe left on the floor of the store because she failed to prove that the store had constructive knowledge of its existence (Yaicel De La Caridad Sanchez, et al. v. Sears, Roebuck & Co., No. 14-23291, S.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 147580).

Mealey's Insurance - Florida Panel Affirms Rulings In Sinkhole Coverage Dispute

LAKELAND, Fla. - A Florida appeals panel on Oct. 30 affirmed a lower court's final judgment entered in favor of insureds in a sinkhole coverage dispute, further affirming its denial of the insureds request for $75,918.06 in prejudgment interest (Citizens Property Insurance Corp. v. German Alvarez, et al., No. 2D13-5125, Fla. App., 2nd Dist.; 2015 Fla. App. LEXIS 16136).

Mealey's IP/Tech - Florida Federal Judge: Trademark Defendant Could Be In Contempt

TAMPA, Fla. - A plaintiff met its burden of demonstrating that a defendant's continued use of "Meth Lab Cleanup" could be in contempt of an earlier summary judgment ruling, a Florida federal judge ruled Oct. 28 (Meth Lab Cleanup LLC v. Spaulding Decon LLC et al., No. 14-3129, M.D. Fla.; 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 146156).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge Awards Insured $23M For Repairs To Defective Work On Condo Project

MIAMI - A commercial general liability insurer owes $23 million in indemnification coverage to a general contractor for repairs it made to fix deficient subcontractor work in a condominium complex, a Florida federal judge ruled Oct. 29, finding that coverage is required since the repairs addressed ongoing damage to nondefective property (Pavarani Construction Co. and Steadfast Insurance Co. v. ACE American Insurance Co., No. 14-20524, S.D. Fla.).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Florida Top Court Affirms Consumer Expectations Test In Reinstating $6.6M Verdict

MIAMI - Longstanding Florida precedent recognizes the consumer expectation test and failure-to-warn claims did not require instructing the jury on the learned intermediary doctrine, the state's top court held in rejecting the Restatement (Third) of Torts and reinstating a $6.6 million asbestos verdict on Oct. 29 (William P. Aubin v. Union Carbide Corp., No. SC12-2075, Fla. Sup.).