LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
Mealey's Banking & Finance - Judge Dismisses Florida Law, FDCPA Claims Related To Foreclosure

ORLANDO, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on Jan. 18 granted a mortgage servicer and a law firm's motion to dismiss claims for violation of federal and Florida law asserted against them by a borrower, finding that a statute of limitations did not apply to their attempt to collect a debt (Dudley Blake v. Select Portfolio Servicing Inc., et al., No. 6:17-cv-1523, M.D. Fla., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7765).

Mealey's Insurance - Erroneous Jury Instruction Warrants Reversal Of Hailstorm Coverage Suit, Panel Says

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.- A Florida appeals panel on Jan. 17 found that a lower court wrongly applied the efficient proximate cause doctrine in instructing the jury and improperly shifted the burden of proof in a hailstorm coverage dispute, reversing and remanding (Richard W. Jones, et al. v. Federated National Insurance Company, No. 4D16-2579, Fla. App., 4th Dist., 2018 Fla. App. LEXIS 561).

Mealey's Banking & Finance - Florida Federal Judge Refuses To Dismiss Bank's Foreclosure-Related Action

TAMPA, Fla. - After finding that mortgage-related documents showed that two people had an interest in a property, a Florida federal judge on Jan. 16 refused to dismiss a bank's foreclosure action against them (Centennial Bank v. Bakerfield Custom Homes Corp., et al., No. 8:17-cv-01721, M.D. Fla., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7467).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability -Expert's Opinions Were Contradicted By Medical Records, Florida Majority Affirms

MIAMI - The majority of a Florida appeals court on Jan. 17 found that the opinions of a plaintiff's expert did not have sufficient evidentiary weight to be submitted to the jury, affirming a lower court's judgment notwithstanding a jury verdict in a lawsuit against a nursing facility and its administrators (Robert Siegel, etc., v. Cross Senior Care, Inc., et al., No. 3D16-600, Fla. App., 3rd Dist., 2018 Fla. App. LEXIS 498).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Parties Settle Dispute Over $18M ICC Award Issued Over Tunnel Excavation Claims

MIAMI - A Florida federal judge on Jan. 12 granted a joint motion to dismiss a petition to vacate and a cross-petition to confirm a $18,068,685 international arbitral award issued in a dispute over a contract for the excavation of tunnels as part of a project for the construction of a hydroelectric plant in Guatemala (Cobra Infraestructuras Hidraulicas S.A. v. Societa Esecuzione Lavori Idraulici, S.p.A., et al., No. 17-23664, S.D. Fla.).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Florida Federal Magistrate Denies Motion To Strike Class, Subclass In TCPA Suit

ORLANDO, Fla. - A Florida federal magistrate judge on Jan. 11 denied a motion by Cigna Corp. to strike a proposed class and subclass in a lawsuit accusing the company of violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) by placing automated calls to individuals who did not give their consent and to wrong numbers (Crystal DeJesus v. Cigna Corporation, No. 17-1208, M.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5149).

Mealey's Labor & Employment - Health Insurer Says It Followed ERISA Plan Guidelines, Judgment Warranted

TAMPA, Fla. - A court can adequately manage its docket without staying proceedings while considering a motion for remand, a motion it should deny and then grant summary judgment, because an insurer's actions complied with the terms of the insured's Employee Retirement Income Security Act plan, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida told a federal judge on Jan. 11 (Premier Inpatient Partners LLC, et al. v. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida Inc., Nos. 17-3000, 17-3001, M.D. Fla.).

Mealey's Insurance - Health Insurer Says It Followed ERISA Plan Guidelines, Judgment Warranted

TAMPA, Fla. - A court can adequately manage its docket without staying proceedings while considering a motion for remand, a motion it should deny and then grant summary judgment, because an insurer's actions complied with the terms of the insured's Employee Retirement Income Security Act plan, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida told a federal judge on Jan. 11 (Premier Inpatient Partners LLC, et al. v. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida Inc., Nos. 17-3000, 17-3001, M.D. Fla.).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Florida Appeals Panel Reverses $4.5 Million Verdict In Tobacco Suit

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida appeals panel on Jan. 10 reversed a $4.5 million verdict in an Engle progeny suit without explanation but ordered that a plaintiff who represents her mother's estate be able to file leave to add punitive damages (Philip Morris USA Inc., et al. v. Jacqueline Mechelle Blackwood, No. 4D16-897, Fla. App., 4th Dist., 2018 Fla. App. LEXIS 309).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Endo Pharmaceuticals Parent Says It Got Grand Jury Subpoena For Oxymorphone

DUBLIN, Ireland - Endo International plc on Jan. 11 announced that subsidiary Endo Pharmaceuticals Inc. has received a grand jury subpoena from the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida for documents and information about the company's oxymorphone products.

Mealey's Insurance - Insured's Stucco Damage Barred From Coverage, Insurer Says In Federal Court

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A commercial general liability insurance policy excludes coverage for an insured's underlying construction defects lawsuits arising out of stucco damage, the insurer says in a Jan. 10 complaint filed in a Florida federal court (Auto-Owners Insurance Co. v. Kis Construction LLC, et al., No. 18-00086, M.D. Fla.).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Florida Appellate Panel Affirms New Trial Order In Tobacco Suit

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A majority of an appellate panel in Florida on Jan. 10 affirmed a trial court's decision to grant a tobacco company's motion for a new trial in an Engle progeny suit because the court cured its own error of dismissing 31 potential jurors without giving the defense the opportunity to question them (Heather Irimi v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al., No. 4D15-759, Fla. App., 4th Dist., 2018 Fla. App. LEXIS 322).

Mealey's Insurance - Health Insurer Says Removed Florida State Law Claims Clearly Implicate ERISA

TAMPA, Fla. - An inpatient medical provider's suit invokes third-party beneficiary rights stemming from an ERISA plan and is completely preempted regardless of its state law origin, an insurer told a federal judge in Florida on Jan. 8 (Premier Inpatient Partners LLC, et al. v. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida Inc., No. 17-3000, M.D. Fla.).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Oral Arguments Set In Florida Asbestos Case Over Daubert Applicability

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The Florida Supreme Court on Jan. 5 said it would hear oral arguments in March in an asbestos case involving whether Daubert can be applied in Florida and whether expert testimony that every exposure to asbestos leads to mesothelioma satisfies whatever standard the state uses (Richard DeLisle v. Crane Co., et al., No. SC16-2182, Fla. Sup.).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Oral Arguments Set In Florida Asbestos Case Over Daubert Applicability

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The Florida Supreme Court on Jan. 5 said it would hear oral arguments in March in an asbestos case involving whether Daubert can be applied in Florida and whether expert testimony that every exposure to asbestos leads to mesothelioma satisfies whatever standard the state uses (Richard DeLisle v. Crane Co., et al., No. SC16-2182, Fla. Sup.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Oral Arguments Set In Florida Asbestos Case Over Daubert Applicability

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The Florida Supreme Court on Jan. 5 said it would hear oral arguments in March in an asbestos case involving whether Daubert can be applied in Florida and whether expert testimony that every exposure to asbestos leads to mesothelioma satisfies whatever standard the state uses (Richard DeLisle v. Crane Co., et al., No. SC16-2182, Fla. Sup.).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Couples Settle Suit With Home Builder Over Allegedly Faulty Stucco

ORLANDO, Fla. - Two couples who were subsequent purchasers of homes built by Pulte Home Corp. that had allegedly improperly installed stucco dismissed their lawsuit in Florida federal court on Jan. 3 after reaching settlements with the company (Shaun Gazzara, et al. v. Pulte Home Corporation, No. 16-cv-657-Orl-31TBS, M.D. Fla.).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge: Fact Issues Exist On Whether Repairs Fixed Insureds' Sinkhole Losses

TAMPA, Fla. - Genuine issues of material fact remain as to whether repairs resolved sinkhole activity in an insured home, a Florida federal judge ruled Jan. 2, denying summary judgment to an insurer on a breach of contract claim (Gerald Gagliardi, et al. v. Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Co., No. 16-3354, M.D. Fla., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 267).

Mealey's Insurance - Florida High Court Ends Workers' Comp Suit Review Against Insolvent Insurer

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The Florida Supreme Court on Dec. 29 approved the voluntary dismissal of a review in a workers' compensation lawsuit filed by an employer and its insolvent insurer against a claimant (Laura Stewart v. Florida Workers' Compensation Insurance Guaranty Association, et al., No. SC17-1757, Fla. Sup., 2017 Fla. LEXIS 2568).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Florida Appeals Panel Affirms Striking Of Tobacco Company's Addiction Expert

MIAMI - A panel of the Third District Florida Court of Appeal on Dec. 26 denied a tobacco company's writ for certiorari after finding that during a deposition, attorneys for the tobacco company made objections to try to coach the expert's testimony (R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. v. Barbara Morales, No. 3D17-2093, Fla. App., 3rd Dist., 2017 Fla. App. LEXIS).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Appeals Panel Denies Petition To Quash Attorney Disqualification In Tobacco Suit

MIAMI - A panel of the Third District Florida Court of Appeal on Dec. 27 denied the request of two Engle progeny plaintiffs to quash an order from the trial court disqualifying their counsel because the firm representing them had an attorney who previously worked representing tobacco companies in similar suits and had access to previous trial strategies for Philip Morris USA Inc. (David Canta, et al. v. Philip Morris USA Inc., et al., No. 3D17-1959, Fla. App. 3rd Dist., 2017 Fla. App. LEXIS 19761).

Mealey's Insurance - Leader Of Auto Insurance Fraud Scheme Pleads Guilty To Racketeering

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A man accused of leading a $23 million insurance fraud scheme involving a number of chiropractic clinics that billed private insurers for personal injury protection (PIP) benefits pleaded guilty in Florida federal court on Dec. 18 to one count of racketeering (United States of America v. Felix Filenger, et al., No. 17-cr-60243, S.D. Fla.).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Couple: Home's Systemic Humidity Problem Caused Mold Growth, Dust Mites

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A Florida couple filed a lawsuit in state court on Dec. 14 against Toll Brothers Inc., the architect of a home as well as the contractor who installed the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system, claiming that systemic humidity within the home resulted in mold growth and increased dust mite allergens that have made the structure uninhabitable (Maziar Monshi, et al. v. Toll FL V LLC, et al., No. 2017-CA-022661, Fla. Cir., Broward Co.).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Settlement Valued At More Than $17.5M Approved In Stain Protection Suit

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida federal judge on Dec. 15 granted final approval of a settlement providing up to $13.5 million in cash to a class and millions more in vouchers, ending a complaint over the effectiveness of stain protection treatments on furniture (Benjamin Hankinson, et al. v. R.T.G. Furniture Corp., et al., No. 15-81139, S.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 207522).

Mealey's Insurance - Defect Notice May Trigger Insurer's Defense Coverage, Florida High Court Rules

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - A Florida Statutes Chapter 558 proceeding for resolving construction defect disputes prior to litigation constitutes a "suit" under commercial general liability insurance policies that may trigger a duty to defend provided that an insurer consents to an insured's participation, a majority of the Florida Supreme Court held Dec. 14 (Altman Contractors Inc. v. Crum & Forster Specialty Insurance Co., No. SC16-1420, Fla. Sup., 2017 Fla. LEXIS 2492).