TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - A Florida appellate panel on Feb. 24 found that the attorneys for a woman who sued a tobacco company for the death of her husband made improper comments during closing arguments that violated a judge's order and ordered a new trial (R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. v. Cynthia Robinson, No. 1D15-0989, Fla. App., 1st Dist., 2017 Fla. App. LEXIS 2535).
TAMPA, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on Feb. 22 denied an insurer's motion to exclude expert testimony on sinkhole damage, finding that the expert's methodology is reliable and that the testimony will assist a trier of fact (Goetz D. Vehse v. Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Company, No. 8:16-cv-599, M.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 24483).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The state's Wrongful Death Act does not permit a widow's wrongful death loss of consortium claim arising from asbestos exposure occurring before the couple's marriage, a divided Florida court held Feb. 22 (Janis Kelly, et al. v. Georgia-Pacific LLC, et al., No. 4D15-4666, Fla. App., 4th Dist., 2017 Fla. App. LEXIS 2413).
TAMPA, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on Feb. 21 denied a motion filed by 30 property owners to remand their claims related to a bank's denial of their requests for loan modifications, finding that the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000 (Abelardo Alonso, et al. v. Bank of America, N.A., No. 8:17-cv-238, M.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 23580).
TAMPA, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on Feb. 16 granted judgment in favor of a boat maker, finding that customer information did not constitute a trade secret and that a reasonable jury could not find that it infringed on another company's trade dress when it manufactured an allegedly similar boat (Yellowfin Yachts Inc. v. Barker Boatworks, LLC, et al., No. 8:15-cv-990, M.D. Fla.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 21745).
OCALA, Fla. - A Florida jury on Feb. 17 awarded a man and his daughter a total of $3.95 million in compensatory damages for the loss of two family members who were killed when a truck driver collided with their car, which had been disabled after being hit by a drunken driver; however, the jury found that the drunken driver was more responsible for the two deaths than the trucker (Eliezer Maldonado, et al. v. Wayne T. Fellows Inc., et al., No. 2013-CA-001308, Fla. 5th Jud. Cir. Marion Co.).
TAMPA, Fla. - An expert may testify as to his knowledge of police procedures and investigative techniques and whether they were followed by a detective in his mortgage fraud investigation of a married couple, a Florida federal judge ruled Feb. 16; however, the expert may not testify as to the ultimate legal conclusion of whether probable cause existed (Ricky Shew and Frances Shew v. William Horvath, No. 16-766, M.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 21748).
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - A Florida jury on Feb. 14 awarded a total of $5.4 million to a family after finding that two tobacco companies were responsible for a woman's addiction to cigarettes, which led to her lung cancer and death (John Brown v. Philip Morris USA Inc., et al., No. 15-002451-CI, Fla. 6th Jud. Cir. Pasco Co.).
MIAMI - A Florida appeals panel on Feb. 15 reversed a lower court's ruling compelling appraisal against an insurer in a Hurricane Wilma coverage dispute, finding that the insureds failed to comply with their post-loss duties under their insurance policy (State Farm Florida Insurance Co. v. Jose R. Fernandez and Sandra Fernandez, No. 3D16-1441, Fla. App., 3rd Dist., 2017 Fla. App. LEXIS 2004).
ORLANDO, Fla. - Judgment was entered in favor of insurers on Feb. 15, one day after a Florida federal judge found that there is no further coverage owed to insureds for lawsuits alleging that they have intentionally engaged in wrongful antitrust and monopolizing conduct in an effort to dominate the health care service industry (Health First Inc., et al. v. Capitol Specialty Insurance Corporation, et al., No. 15-718, M.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 20320).
TAMPA, Fla. - A lawyer is not qualified to opine on the educational lead-generation industry's customs and practices because the lawyer failed to explain why her experience is a sufficient basis for her opinion and how her experience is reliably applied to the facts of a trade secrets and breach of contract case, a Florida federal judge ruled Feb. 13, excluding the testimony (Connectus LLC v. Ampush Media Inc., et al., No. 15-2778, M.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 19829).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Two pension funds failed to plead any material misrepresentations or omissions or scienter in arguing that a company and certain of its executive officers issued misstatements regarding the company's financial condition in the wake of an industry downturn, a federal judge in Florida ruled Feb. 8 in granting the defendants' motion to dismiss (In re KLX Inc. Securities Litigation, No. 16-80023, S.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 17764).
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - A Florida appellate panel on Feb. 10 reversed and remanded a lower court order and found that certain statutes of limitations do not apply to a case filed against an insurer before it became insolvent (Patricia Morrison v. Homewise Preferred Insurance Company and Florida Insurance Guaranty Association, No. 5D15-4312, Fla. App., 5th Dist., 2017 Fla. App. LEXIS 1648).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A Florida federal judge erred in concluding that an abbreviated new drug application (ANDA) satisfies various Markush group requirements set forth in claim 1(b) of a drug composition patent, the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Feb. 10 (Shire Development LLC, et al. v. Watson Pharmaceuticals Inc., et al., No. 16-1785, Fed. Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 2393).
PHOENIX - Allegations that two defendants infringed three patents relating to a process known as "singulation" will proceed in Florida federal court, where a separate case implicating the same three patents is already pending, an Arizona federal judge ruled Feb. 8 (ON Semiconductor Corporation, et al. v. Micro Processing Technology Inc., No. 16-1055, D. Ariz.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 17753).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida appeals panel on Feb. 8 held that there is a reasonable possibility that the introduction of irrelevant and prejudicial evidence as to an insured's health condition contributed to a jury verdict against an insurer in a dispute over coverage for roof damage caused by Hurricane Wilma, reversing for a new trial (State Farm Florida Insurance Co. v. Dina Figueroa, No. 4D15-2698, Fla. App., 4th Dist., 2017 Fla. App. LEXIS 1548).
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on Feb. 6 dismissed claims for negligence and violation of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) against a bank in relation to a request for information but allowed a claim for violation of Florida consumer collection law to proceed (Loris B. Ranger, et al. v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. d/b/a America's Servicing Company, No. 15-62511, S.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 17148).
SEBRING, Fla. - A Florida state jury on Feb. 8 rendered a verdict in favor of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. in an Engle progeny trial after it found that a woman who was addicted to cigarettes knew or should have known that she had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) by the Engle claim cutoff date (Angela Durance v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. 11-26-GCS, Fla. 10th Jud. Cir., Highlands Co.).
ATLANTA - The 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Feb. 8 found that underlying counterclaims against an insured failed to assert facts that constituted an "advertising injury" under general liability and excess insurance policies, affirming a lower federal court's finding that the insurer did not have a duty to defend its insured (IVFMD Florida, Inc. v. Allied Property & Casualty Insurance Co., No. 16-15127, 11th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 2218).