LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
Mealey's Insurance - Panel: District Court Focused Analysis On Wrong Party In Bad Faith Suit

ATLANTA - A federal district court erred in granting summary judgment in favor of an insurer in an insurance bad faith lawsuit because the court's analysis focused on the wrong party, which contradicts Florida law, an 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Feb. 19 (Joshua Moore v. GEICO General Insurance Co., No. 14-13356, 11th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 2874).

Mealey's Insurance - Florida Panel: Court Erred In Requiring Insurer To Pay For Subsurface Repairs

LAKELAND, Fla. - A Florida appeals panel on Feb. 19 held that a lower court erred in ordering an insurer to pay for its insureds' subsurface repairs before the insureds entered into a contract for those repairs and in awarding the insureds prejudgment interest, reversing in part the court's $192,207.20 judgment against the insurer in a sinkhole coverage dispute (Citizens Property Insurance Corporation v. Ariety Amat, et al., No. 2D14-4274, Fla. App., 2nd Dist.; 2016 Fla. App. LEXIS 2412).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - Panel Reverses Order For New Trial In Suit Based On Untimely Daubert Objection

MIAMI - A defendant in a personal injury lawsuit failed to make a timely objection under Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (509 U.S. 579 [1993]), a Florida appeals panel ruled Feb. 17, reversing a trial judge's decision to grant a new trial following a $93,000 jury verdict (Enzo Rojas v. Yagmerys Rodriguez, No. 3D15-277, Fla. App., 3rd Dist.; 2016 Fla. App. LEXIS 2247).

Mealey's Insurance - Coverage Barred For Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Claims, Federal Magistrate Says

ORLANDO, Fla. - A Florida federal magistrate judge, applying Texas law, on Feb. 12 granted an umbrella liability insurer's motion for summary judgment after determining that the umbrella policy's pollution exclusion clearly bars coverage for injuries arising out of carbon monoxide poisoning regardless of what caused the carbon monoxide to seep into the hotel guests' room (Kenneth E. Shaw, et al. v. Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Co., No. 15-686, M.D. Fla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 17626).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Florida AG Settles Suit With Home Builder Over Defects, Improper Warranty Denials

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi on Feb. 11 announced that the state had entered into a proposed settlement with KB Homes and its Florida subsidiaries over alleged violations of the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (FDUTPA) stemming from the defendants' alleged defective construction of homes and improper denial of warranty claims resulting from the defects (Office of the Attorney General, Department of Legal Affairs, State of Florida v. KB Home, et al., No. 2016-CA-000300, Fla. Cir.; Leon Co.).

Mealey's Labor & Employment - Absolute Employer's Liability Provision Does Not Bar Coverage, Florida Panel Rules

MIAMI - A Florida appeals panel on Feb. 10 held that a general liability insurance policy's "separation of insureds" provision allowed an insured's claimant to pursue her claims stemming from a slip-and-fall injury against additional insureds under the policy, reversing a lower court's ruling that coverage is barred by the "absolute employer's liability" provision (Kerry Taylor v. Admiral Insurance Co., No. 3D14-720, Fla., App., 3rd Dist.; 2016 Fla. App. LEXIS 1807).

Mealey's Insurance - Absolute Employer's Liability Provision Does Not Bar Coverage, Florida Panel Rules

MIAMI - A Florida appeals panel on Feb. 10 held that a general liability insurance policy's "separation of insureds" provision allowed an insured's claimant to pursue her claims stemming from a slip-and-fall injury against additional insureds under the policy, reversing a lower court's ruling that coverage is barred by the "absolute employer's liability" provision (Kerry Taylor v. Admiral Insurance Co., No. 3D14-720, Fla., App., 3rd Dist.; 2016 Fla. App. LEXIS 1807).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge Denies Appraisal For Insured As Unresolved Coverage Issues Remain

MIAMI - Unresolved coverage issues exist for water damage sustained at two insured properties, a Florida federal judge ruled Feb. 8, finding that appraisal is not appropriate until the court resolves all underlying coverage issues (Elena V. Pernas v. Scottsdale Insurance Co., No. 15-21506, S.D. Fla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 15031).

Mealey's Insurance - Abatement Of Bad Faith Claim Is More Appropriate Than Dismissal, Judge Rules

TAMPA, Fla. - A federal judge in Florida on Feb. 8 denied an insurer's motion to dismiss in an insurance bad faith lawsuit, ruling that abatement of certain of an insured's claims is a more proper course of action (Tamara Ley, et al. v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., No. 15-2687, M.D. Fla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 15032).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Florida Appeals Court Orders Judge To Reinstate $168,000 Verdict In Defects Suit

LAKELAND, Fla. - A Florida appellate panel on Feb. 5 ordered a trial court judge to reinstate a jury's $168,000 verdict in favor of a woman who claims that the defective construction of her home rendered it worthless, finding that the opinions of a general contractor, a real estate agent and a structural engineer that the home should be demolished showed that the home was valueless (Angela M. Gray v. Mark Hall Homes Inc., et al., No. 2D15-616, Fla. App,. 2nd Dist.; 2016 Fla. App. LEXIS 1578).

Mealey's Insurance - 'Your Work' Exclusion Bars Insured's Faulty Work, Judge Concludes

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Damages from an insured's defective work that resulted in water intrusion are precluded under a "your work" exclusion, a Florida federal judge ruled Feb. 3, finding that an insurer has no duty to defend or indemnify the insured (Auto-Owners Insurance Co. v. Elite Homes, Inc., et al., No. 14-1182, M.D. Fla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 12910).

Mealey's IP/Tech - Prevailing Patent Defendants Denied Attorney Fee Award By Florida Federal Judge

ORLANDO, Fla. - A Florida federal magistrate judge's recommendation that a request for attorney fees in a patent case should be denied was adopted in full Feb. 2 by U.S. Judge Anne C. Conway of the Middle District of Florida (Sweepstakes Patent Company v. Chase Burns, et al., No. 14-151, M.D. Fla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 12158).

Mealey's Insurance - Judge: Fact Issues Exist On Additional Insured Status In Construction Defects Case

ORLANDO, Fla. - Genuine issues of material fact exist as to whether a general contractor qualified as an additional insured under a commercial general liability policy and, if so, whether the contractor satisfied the self-insured retention (SIR) endorsement in an underlying construction defects lawsuit, a Florida federal judge held Feb. 1 (Core Construction Services Southeast, Inc. v. Crum & Forster Specialty Insurance Co., No. 14-1789, M.D. Fla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11487).

Mealey's PI/Product Liability - Prempro Breast Cancer Complaint Dismissed On Pleading Shortcomings

MIAMI - A Florida federal judge on Feb. 1 dismissed without prejudice a woman's claim that Prempro hormone replacement therapy caused her to develop breast cancer (Maggie Tsavaris v. Pfizer, Inc., et al., No. 15-21826, S.D. Fla.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11465).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Florida Appellate Panel Affirms Jury's $5 Million Verdict In Engle Trial

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A Florida appellate panel on Jan. 28 affirmed without opinion a jury's verdict awarding the children of a woman who died from smoking-related illnesses $5 million after finding that R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. was responsible for her lung cancer (R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company v. Willie James Cheeley, et al., No. 4D14-1594, Fla. App. 4th Dist.; 2016 Fla. App. LEXIS 1111).

Mealey's Insurance - Owner, Manager Of Home Health Agencies Convicted Of Submitting False Claims

MIAMI - The owner and manager of three home health agencies was convicted Jan. 21 by a federal jury in Florida for his role in a scheme that involved submitting more than $57 million in fraudulent bills to Medicare (United States of America v. Khaled Blbeblawy, No. 15-cr-20820, S.D. Fla.).

Mealey's Insurance - Florida Majority Affirms Ruling In Favor Of Insureds In Sinkhole Coverage

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - A majority of a Florida appeals court on Jan. 22 affirmed a lower court's ruling in favor of insureds in a coverage dispute arising from alleged sinkhole property damage (Tower Hill Prime Insurance Co. v. Douglas Newell, et al., No. 5D14-1363, Fla. App., 5th Dist.; 2016 Fla. App. LEXIS 829).

Mealey's IP/Tech - Supreme Court Denies Review of Patent Case Jurisdiction Dispute

WASHINGTON, D.C. - In the Jan. 19 orders list, the U.S. Supreme Court revealed it will not review a 2015 ruling by the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that reversed a Florida federal judge's denial of a motion to dismiss patent infringement allegations (Alps South LLC v. The Ohio Willow Wood Co., No. 15-567, U.S. Sup.).

Mealey's Labor & Employment - Split 5th Circuit Panel Reinstates Officer's Claim Of Retaliatory Termination

NEW ORLEANS - A divided Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Jan. 5 vacated a trial court's rejection of a detention center officer's claim of retaliatory firing, finding that there was evidence that the center was inconsistent when it came to firing workers who mistreated inmates, but the majority affirmed the rejection of the officer's remaining claims (Lillie D. Wheat v. Florida Parish Juvenile Justice Commission, No. 14-30788, 5th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 45).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Jury Awards $25 Million In Punitive Damages To Widower In Tobacco Suit

MIAMI - After only a few hours of deliberations, a Florida jury on Dec. 22 awarded the husband of a woman who died from lung cancer related to her addiction to cigarettes $25 million in punitive damages, bringing the total award to $35 million (Roland Ledoux v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, et al., No. 07-43991-CA-06, Fla. 11th Cir., Dade Co.).

Mealey's Toxic Tort/Environmental - Jury Awards $10 Million To Smoker's Husband In Tobacco Suit

MIAMI - Following a two-week trial, a Florida jury on Dec. 18 awarded $10 million to the husband of a woman who died from lung cancer after finding cigarette smoking was the cause of her lung cancer and death (Roland Ledoux v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, et al., No. 07-43991-CA-06, Fla. 11th Cir., Dade Co.).

Mealey's Litigation Procedure - ICSID Issues 1st Order In CAFTA Case Filed Against Dominican Republic

WASHINGTON, D.C. - A tribunal for the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) on Dec. 16 issued its first procedural order in an arbitration commenced by a Florida materials company against the Dominican Republic, outlining the procedural rules of the case (Corona Materials LLC v. Dominican Republic, No. ARB[AF]/14/3, ICSID).

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).